Board battle won't bother the Ibrox kids

STEVIE Smith has no fears the off-field unrest at Ibrox will affect the young players in the Rangers first team.

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Rangers player Steven Smith visits and spends time with kids at the Southbank Child Development Centre
Rangers player Steven Smith visits and spends time with kids at the Southbank Child Development Centre

That's because the left-back reckons the kids have grown so used to turbulent times at the Glasgow giants in the last couple of years.

Smith has been hugely impressed with the way Fraser Aird, Robbie Crawford and Lewis Macleod have performed in recent weeks.

The trio have helped Ally McCoist's team break the post-war record for consecutive victories in competitive matches.

And the defender, who has been kept out of the first team by Lee Wallace, is confident that protests in the stands will not halt their hot streak.

He said: "I think it is normal for them. Last year when they came into the team it was the same thing.

"They have probably got used to it over a period of time.

"As players, you just want to concentrate on the football. That is what we are trying to do."

Smith believes the experienced players brought to Rangers in the summer by manager McCoist have helped the starlets to cope with the pressure of playing at Ibrox.

The 28-year-old returned to the club he started his career at in the close season.

Cammy Bell, Jon Daly, Ricky Foster, Nicky Law and Bilel Mohsni also came in on free transfers.

And Smith said: "I noticed the difference in the club, from when I was here before, last year when I was training with them because there weren't a lot of experienced players there.

"But in the summer the manager brought in some experienced players. He has made eight or nine signings and that has helped anybody.

"There were a lot of young players training with the first team squad last year.

"That was probably the only difference. But you have to work harder to get your chance this year.

He added: "But the likes of Fraser Aird and Lewis Macleod are proving that if you do work hard then you will get your chances in the team."

Smith has not played for the Rangers first team since coming on in the 4-0 win over East Fife at New Bayview back in October.

However, he has no complaints about his lack of game time given the superb form of Scotland left-back Wallace.

Speaking as he handed out Christmas presents to kids at Southbank Child Development Centre on behalf of the Rangers Charity Foundation, he said: "I realise the club I am playing at and the players who are ahead of me. Whenever a chance comes along I will be ready.

"It is hard to get in ahead of Lee. But I knew that would be the case before I came. I obviously watched him. I trained with the squad last year and know how good he is.

"I have no regrets about coming back, none. A club like this needs a big squad with the number of games we play."

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