RANGERS have suffered a massive blow with the shattering news Niko Kranjcar’s season is over.
The Croatian midfielder will undergo knee surgery in London today as specialists attempt to repair damage to his anterior cruciate ligament.
Kranjcar, 32, had his worst fears confirmed yesterday after sustaining the injury in a training ground accident a fortnight ago.
The player arrived at Ibrox from New York Cosmos in the summer and, after a slow start to his career in Glasgow, was beginning to make an impact and was the Ibrox side’s best player in their 1-0 win over Caley Thistle in Inverness last month.
His loss will be a major setback for manager Mark Warburton whose other marquee signing, Joey Barton, will almost certainly never kick another ball for the club after being suspended following a training ground bust-up.
The Englishman, who arrived on a free after leaving Burnley at the end of last season, hasn’t featured since the 5-1 loss to Celtic at Parkhead on September 10.
Kranjcar will begin his rehabilitation as soon as possible after the operation, but is expected to be sidelined for at least six months.
The Barton and Kranjcar signings were meant to spearhead a Rangers charge for the title. Both players are believed to be on big salaries by Ibrox standards, with commentators believing each player to to be on in excess of £24,000 per week.
With both players now unavailable this represents a massive blow to Rangers manager Mark Warburton who is being forced to work on a tiny budget compared to Glasgow rivals Celtic, who are set to benefit from huge Champions League riches.
Rangers will be keen to offload motor mouth Barton in the January window and won’t be hard to deal with if a club comes calling for the player who thought he’d be too good for Scottish football.
Barton was brought back down to earth at Parkhead in September when he flopped badly in a 5-1 hammering.
Everyone in Scottish football will wish Niko Kranjcar a speedy recovery.