NIKOLA KATIC admits he has been surprised by the rough and tumble nature of Scottish football this season after claiming Kilmarnock's approach was more like a rugby game at Ibrox on Saturday.

The defender returned to the starting line-up as Steven Gerrard's side had to come from behind to rescue a point when Alfredo Morelos cancelled out Connor McAleny's first half strike.

Boss Gerrard was unhappy with the physical nature of Killie's play at times but only four bookings were given out by referee Greg Aitken as Allan McGregor and Connor Goldson were also cautioned.

Katic moved to Ibrox from Slaven Belupo in the summer and the Croatian has taken time to adapt to the pace and style of the Premiership.

He said: "In the second half they made bad fouls that was like rugby. It was really tough, they stand and blocked us on the edge of the box.

HeraldScotland: Ryan Kent goes down under a challenge from Youssouf MulumbuRyan Kent goes down under a challenge from Youssouf Mulumbu

READ MORE: Five things we learned as Steven Gerrard's side are held at Ibrox

"It's really tough to break their line and score goals. We are a team who want to play football, we don't play long balls or put crosses in from the halfway line. It was tough to try and find a way to break them down.

"Yes, sometimes [they crossed the line]. It's tough when you are Rangers because the fans expect you to play technical football like Celtic or Hibs, but they just stand and block you it's really hard to play one-twos when they have 11 players behind the ball.

"To be honest I have been really surprised because I didn't expect this. The tempo in the Scottish League is maybe one of the highest in the world. It's not technically that good, but the tempo is really hard to play in."

The Killie clash was Katic's first appearance for Rangers since coming off the bench for the closing stages of the win over Aberdeen at Pittodrie last month.

But it was to prove a mixed afternoon for the 22-year-old as the Light Blues suffered another setback on home soil and extended their winless run to four matches.

Rangers shot themselves in the foot early on as McAleny burst in behind a ragged back four and rounded keeper Allan McGregor to give Kilmarnock the lead and something to hold on to.


READ MORE: Chris Jack: Steven Gerrard has made progress at Rangers - even if the numbers don't back it up

Katic said: "There is definitely frustration because we are not happy with the results in the last three or four games. It was a tough game, but we must do better.

"We conceded a stupid goal and that made it really hard to play against them because all their team were within 60 metres for the last 70 minutes of the match.

"But we will try and learn something from this and try and make it better in future.

"We are all good friends in the dressing room and we know we must stick together if we want to be better and get better results.

"We had a big debate about it after the game and spoke to the gaffer about it. Me and Andy stayed too deep and Connor and James stayed too high and their player came behind them and I was too far from him.

"Maybe Allan could have stayed as well. But I think me and Andy needed to stay higher as a line and maybe play him offside.

"We train all day and stay together afterwards, we are together for seven or eight hours. We are like family. Everyone knows each other.

"I was off for seven or eight games since I played at the start of the season, but I've also played with Connor too for a few games. I know him and I know how he plays and he knows I play, so it wasn't anything different.

"There are definitely no excuses. I will take the blame for that goal. Maybe Connor or Andy or Tav might say the same if you ask them, but I will try to learn from that and be better in the future."