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Last Updated: Friday, 5 May 2006, 18:28 GMT 19:28 UK
Top youth Smith praises McLeish
Steven Smith with his Bank of Scotland award
Steven Smith has broken into the first-team this season
Scottish Premier League young player of the month Steven Smith has paid tribute to Alex McLeish for allowing him to make his breakthrough at Rangers.

McLeish will stand in the Ibrox dug-out for the last time on Sunday before making way for new boss Paul Le Guen.

"I'm always going to owe him a lot for the faith he showed in me, especially in big games like Villarreal and the Old Firm games," said Smith.

"He could have left me out for a more experienced player."

The 20-year-old was not daunted by likely extra competition for places because Le Guen will have more more money for new players.

"Everybody is looking forward to new faces coming in and learning new things and hopefully the new manager will help to develop a lot of the young players here as well," he said.
Hopefully, we will be winning things this time next year
Steven Smith

"When you get into the team, you get a bit greedy and you always want more.

"If I'm not playing, I will be disappointed, along with a lot of other players who aren`t playing.

"I just need to work hard on the training field and hopefully that's good enough for the new manager coming in."

Defending champins Rangers finished a disapointing third in the SPL this season behind Sunday's opponents, Hearts.

"There is no point feeling sorry for ourselves," added Smith.

"We've all got to look forward to next season and we know we have to do better domestically.

"When you are at a club like Rangers, your ambition is always to win things and we have to put that right next season.

"We know we have disappointed a lot of people with the performances we put in in the first half of the season and we need to lift ourselves for next season.

"Hopefully, we will be winning things this time next year."


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