Graeme Murty recalls being torn apart by Rangers' Niko Kranjcar

Graeme Murty

Niko Kranjcar was at his very best when Portsmouth thrashed Reading 7-4; now he is being coached at Rangers by the right-back he ripped to pieces.

Ranger's Niko Kranjcar in action with Burnley's Scott Arfield

Rangers caretaker manager Graeme Murty has more reason than most to be interested in Niko Kranjcar’s progression from a serious knee injury. After all, he has witnessed the Croatian’s magic touch first hand, the club’s official website reports.

The 32-year-old is without doubt one of the most naturally gifted members of a varying Rangers squad, his subtle touch and eye for the spectacular lighting up the Premier League during spells with Portsmouth and Tottenham Hotspur.

However, Kranjcar has been restricted to just four league starts this season after suffering a horror injury in October though Murty, who was on the receiving end of the play-maker’s dazzling technique during Portsmouth’s record-breaking 7-4 Premier League win against Reading in 2007, cannot wait to see him in action from the safety of the touchline.

“Niko is getting on really well actually,” Murty told the club’s official website .

“Please do not look at games that Niko has played in where I have played against him because it is not good. It does not make good reading for me – Portsmouth beat Reading 7-4 and I got taken off just after Niko scored so I have great memories of how good he is.

“Steve Coppell said to me “Are you ever going to get tight to him?” and I said I can’t I don’t even know where he is. He was supposed to be playing on my side and I never saw him the whole game.

Graeme Murty

“He is delighted in reminding me of that every time I see him; he remembers playing against me with a big smile on his face.”

Rangers have scored just 32 goals in 24 Scottish top flight games this season, far fewer than European rivals Hearts and Aberdeen and less than half of runaway leaders Celtic’s tally.

Therefore, Kranjcar’s vision and creativity will be welcomed back with open arms by Murty or whoever is at the helm once the Croatian is ready to return to first-team duties.

Sulley Muntari - Portsmouth celebrates his goal with Niko Kranjcar

Register for HITC Sport - Daily Dispatch