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Page last updated at 13:14 GMT, Saturday, 3 October 2009 14:14 UK

Derby not new to Mowbray - Smith

Walter Smith
Walter Smith is getting ready to take on Tony Mowbray for the first time

Rangers manager Walter Smith does not expect Tony Mowbray to be overawed by his first Old Firm game as Celtic boss.

Mowbray and his coach, Peter Grant, played in many derbies for Celtic and Smith believes this will help them.

"Tony Mowbray and Peter Grant have had the benefit of being players in an Old Firm environment," said Smith.

"It's not as though they are coming into the Old Firm games as strangers even though it is their first managerial game."

Celtic have adopted a different style of play since Mowbray replaced Gordon Strachan, but Smith feels his new Old Firm counterpart needs more time to fully put his stamp on the team.

"I don't think Tony will have had the time yet," Smith added.

"It's only been a few months and, when you have new ideas and are trying to integrate new players, it takes a bit of time to get your ideas over.

"They have one or two new players who have come into the side, but I don't think they are vastly different from the way they played under Gordon Strachan."

Meanwhile, Smith insists that defeat in Sunday's Old Firm clash at Ibrox would not dash hopes of defending their Scottish Premier League title.

The Celtic game will certainly bring our own players into focus

Rangers manager Walter Smith

Victory for Scottish Premier League leaders Celtic would take them seven points above Rangers, but Smith believes such a points difference means little so early in the season.

"Both teams have found themselves seven points behind and have come back to win a title," he said.

"But we don't want to go seven behind, we want to peg Celtic back a bit."

So far this term, Rangers have struggled to replicate the form that saw them beat Celtic to the title in May.

Smith's men have stuttered to goalless draws in their last three league matches, but the Ibrox boss hopes a positive result against Celtic can help kick-start their campaign.

"It's a good game for us to have, depending on the result," he said.

"We would rather that than a game where there was maybe a bit of flatness about the place.

"The Celtic game will certainly bring our own players into focus.

"There has been an aspect of our season where we have started slowly, allied to the fact we haven't scored the number of goals we normally do.

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"So we have concerns and things we have to adjust to and hopefully we can do that on Sunday."

And Smith may have to yet again do without the attacking options provided by Kenny Miller and Kyle Lafferty.

The pair are available again up front for Rangers after injury this weekend, but Smith admits he is far from confident of either being fit enough for the rigours of an Old Firm tussle.

Lafferty is just returning from a knee injury, while Miller is still being troubled by a persistent hamstring problem and sat out the midweek defeat by Sevilla.

"I'm hoping after a few days' rest he will be a little bit better," said Smith.

"He is going to see a specialist in Germany next week.

"If it has settled down a little bit, and we will know after the next couple of days training if it has, then there is a possibility we can start with him.

"But the injury will have to settle down before we make that decision."



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see also
Mowbray guns for Old Firm victory
03 Oct 09 |  Celtic
Form a worry for Old Firm
02 Oct 09 |  Scottish Premier
Rangers 2-1 Celtic
04 Oct 09 |  Scottish Premier


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