Borna Barisic expresses Antonio Colak delight and makes Rangers prediction for Croatian compatriot

·4-min read
Antonio Colak
Antonio Colak

ANTONIO COLAK dreamed of following in the footsteps of Croatian strikers Dado Prso and Nikica Jelavic by making a name for himself at Ibrox.

But it is the words of wisdom from compatriot Borna Barisic that have helped the 28-year-old settle into life at Rangers and hit the ground running this term.

Colak scored his fourth goal in as many games on Tuesday night as he ensured Giovanni van Bronckhorst's side still have a chance of overcoming PSV Eindhoven and progressing in the Champions League.

His clinical first half finish - as he found the bottom corner after a neat move involving Steven Davis and James Tavernier - brought Rangers level on the night at Ibrox.

In the end, it wasn't enough to inspire the hosts to victory as Ruud van Nistelrooy's side snatched a late draw to give them the edge in the play-off round tie.

It was still a night to remember for Colak, though, as the former Malmo striker delivered on the European stage and took another step towards earning a spot in the affections of supporters.

Barisic knows all too well what life is like when the fans are singing your praises or piling on the pressure and how long it can take to make Ibrox home from home.

And he is pleased that his countryman, who has also netted against Kilmarnock, Union Saint-Gilloise and St Johnstone, has made a positive first impression as Colak holds off the challenge of Alfredo Morelos and attempts to fire Rangers to success this season.

Barisic said: "I’m very happy for him. He has started very well for us and I knew that he would.

"He is very happy to be with Rangers and you can see that on the pitch.

“He brings a lot of energy to the team and he has already scored four goals so he is making a good impact.

“I am sure there is more to come from him. He showed it at Malmo and he showed it at Rijeka where he scored 20-plus goals so he has quality there is no doubt about that.

“From what I can see in training every day he is very focused, very determined and he has listened to the things I told him about the club.

“I explained to him about the fans, the pressure and the passion for football here and he has taken all of that in very well.

“And you can see how well he has adapted by the start he has made to his Rangers career.

“You just have to look at Tuesday’s game to see that he stayed on the pitch for the whole 90 minutes when someone like Morelos is on the bench so that shows the confidence the manager has in him.

“He can see the energy and the quality he can bring so I’m really pleased for Antonio that the manager has faith in him."

The Premiership clash with Hibernian sees Rangers focus on the title race once again but Van Bronckhorst will have Champions League glory in mind ahead of the trip to Eindhoven.

A win at Easter Road and triumph over PSV would cap an encouraging start to the season for Rangers and Barisic is confident the campaign is on the right track at home and abroad.

Barisic said: “We are disappointed that we were 2-1 in front and let that go by losing a late goal but I think overall we can take a lot of positives from the first leg with PSV because we played a lot of good football.

“We knew before the first game that it was going to be difficult – there was no way it was going to be a 4-0 or 5-0.

"They are a good team and so it proved. So we know what we have to do next week

“First of all we have to focus on Hibs, but we know what we have to do in Holland and we have shown in previous games that we can perform well away from home.

“We are 90 minutes away from the Champions League – and, of course it is the same for them. So we will go there positive and with confidence."