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Page last updated at 09:34 GMT, Saturday, 10 May 2008 10:34 UK

Smith stays focused on SPL title

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News conference: Rangers boss Walter Smith

Walter Smith is confident the Uefa Cup final will not act as a distraction when Rangers host Dundee United in Saturday's league encounter at Ibrox.

Victory for Rangers would cut Celtic's lead in the Scottish Premier League to one point. Defeat would make their rivals favourites to retain the title.

"The importance of the league championship is a big thing for anyone," said Smith.

"And I think, this season, we have been focused enough."

United can gain a Uefa Cup place, so they will be up for the game

Rangers manager Walter Smith

Rangers face Zenit St Petersburg in the Uefa Cup final at the City of Manchester Stadium, but Smith says that his team selection will not be influenced by Wednesday's European showpiece.

"Some of our players have had a little bit of a strain placed on them with the number of matches they have had to play, but that's just the way it is," said Smith, whose side have two games in hand over Celtic in the SPL.

"The boys want to play. They have shown, physically, they are handling it and I think they are getting there mentally now as well.

"They can start to see the beginning of the end of the games and they are looking forward to every one of them.

"We are in good shape despite this game being the fourth in nine days and we are looking forward to the remaining fixtures as well."

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United have been one of Rangers' most difficult opponents this season, claiming four points from their meetings at Tannadice, as well as losing out in the CIS Insurance Cup final only after extra-time and penalties.

"They've been doing it all season," he said. "They have been aggressive in their approach to the games and by that I mean they like to get forward.

"They've enjoyed a good season and they can turn it into an exceptionally good one by gaining a Uefa Cup place, so they will be up for the game.

"They will be ready for this one and I would fully expect a really good game."


see also
Rangers v Dundee Utd
09 May 08 |  Scottish Premier
McCulloch winning fitness battle
08 May 08 |  Rangers
Smith relief at Rangers' winner
07 May 08 |  Rangers


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