Nikola Zigic calls on Blues to summon their survival spirit

Nikola Zigic during his time with Blues.
Nikola Zigic during his time with Blues.

It’s like Bolton (in 2014) and Bristol, isn’t it? Birmingham did it then and then can do it again.

Nikola Zigic

Former favourite Nikola Zigic says Blues can secure their Championship status – once more.

The Carling Cup winner and Wembley goalscorer was part of the last-gasp escape at Bolton Wanderers in 2014.

And he says that Blues can also draw on the way they finished last season at a similar stage as this, with three games to go, to stay in the league.

Zigic, 37, who now lives in Spain near Valencia, told “I’ve watched this season closely and it’s like ‘what has happened?’.

“It’s been very tough and it’s ended up like last year, it all comes down to these games.

“I think that with the new manager the players have responded and they can do it.

“It’s like Bolton (in 2014) and Bristol, isn’t it? Birmingham did it then and then can do it again.

“A lot is about the mentality and the determination of the players – and the fans play a big part of course.

“It makes a difference when they are all behind the lads at St. Andrew’s. The atmosphere can be fantastic and I have friends who have told me it has been like that in recent games. And then there was so many who went to Bolton again – wow!

“That’s what Birmingham fans are like and the players can feed from it.”

Former £6 million record signing Zigic had one of the more eventful Blues careers.

In all he spent five seasons at the Club, returning as a free agent in December 2014 after his initial contract expired the previous summer.

He and his family enjoyed living in the surrounding area and his two girls, now 10 and seven, grew up here.

Regardless of the ups and downs and often the polarisation of opinion, Zigic had a habit of making a significant impact on the pitch in key games and is still remembered with affection, very much as a cult figure.

“I love Birmingham, I love the place and we miss it, yes we do,” said former Serbia international Zigic, who scored 36 times from 159 appearances.

“It’s just not nice to see the Club where it has been the last couple of seasons.

“There has been change and change and change. You can’t keep doing that, it has to settle.

“I think this manager is good, he needs to stay around, and it will be all right this season.

“He has got them creating more chances and with the two home games that will be important.

“We all know what the Championship is like. It is a crazy league, very hard.

“You have to believe in yourself when it comes down to situations like this and we have done it before.”

Reminiscing about Bolton, on that final day four years ago, Zigic got Blues back in the game with the first goal and reveals that he should have been considered the ‘saviour’, not Paul Caddis, who nodded the equaliser in the third minute of added-time.

“Yes, yes, it’s true, my header crossed the line before it was headed out to Caddy,” he laughed.

“It doesn’t matter, it’s not important. What was important was that we weren’t relegated then and it’s important it doesn’t happen this season.

“It won’t, I’m sure it won’t. I look at the players Birmingham have and there are some good players, who can make a difference. And the manager. They seem to be organised and have a good spirit.”

Zigic is busying himself helping out his agent after hanging up his boots. And he has a son, three-year-old Lazar, who could end up following in his giant dad’s footsteps.

Zigic quipped: “I’m not playing any more, no. I’m nearly 38. It’s too much. I’m not like Robbo – is he still going?

“My son he has started to kick a ball, but the girls kick more and kick it harder!

“They’re happy and whatever they all want to do when they are older that is fine, it is up to them to decide.”