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Page last updated at 16:54 GMT, Friday, 5 February 2010

Smith applauds Levein for recalling Boyd and McGregor

Rangers manager Walter Smith
Smith believes the return of Boyd and McGregor will benefit Scotland

By Alasdair Lamont

Walter Smith has welcomed Craig Levein's decision to recall Kris Boyd and Allan McGregor for Scotland.

Boyd made himself unavailable for selection under George Burley, while McGregor was banned for his part in the 'Boozegate' affair.

But Levein says the Rangers pair will be in his first squad to face the Czech Republic at Hampden next month.

And Rangers boss Smith said: "I'm pleased he's picked them - both these boys have been doing well this season."

Boyd is back in the Rangers squad for Saturday's Scottish Cup tie against St Mirren, and Smith added: "He was playing as well as he's played at any time since I've come back to Rangers, scoring goals, and he's one you would want into your group.

Smith welcomes players return

"Allan McGregor's been terrific for us over the season, so it's good that he's getting picked."

That was a view reiterated by Boyd and McGregor's team-mate and fellow Scotland international Steven Naismith.

"I think it's great news for the country as a whole," said Naismith, himself hopeful of being involved against the Czechs.

"Both players have had their problems in the past with the international set-up. The manager's said we need our best players to do well in the qualifiers and the two of them, when they play at their best, are undoubtedly the best in the country."

McGregor was banned at the same time as Barry Ferguson after both players were photographed making rude gestures while on the bench during a game against Iceland.

The pair were named as substitutes after being dropped from the starting line-up for a breach of discipline.

Levein has discussed the possibility of a return to the national set-up with Ferguson but it is unclear whether the Birmingham player will add to his 47 caps.

Levein would relish facing England

Boyd, who has scored seven times in 15 Scotland appearances, has yet to reveal whether he will sign the new contract on offer from Rangers, while Smith, who is working without a contract, again hinted this week that the club's dire financial situation could deteriorate further.

However, the Rangers boss refused to elaborate on these comments during Friday's media conference.

Asked to expand on his earlier revelations, he replied: "I've spoken about that. I don't want to talk about it any more."

Smith also said last week the sale of Pedro Mendes had been a football decision, not a financial one, and one taken by him rather than forced upon him.

He had also stated there was a possibility of bringing a player in, following the departure of Mendes and Jerome Rothen, but that failed to materialise.

He explained: "I just couldn't find anybody. I did say I wouldn't take anyone unless I could find someone I thought could make a difference to the team and unfortunately we weren't able to do that for one reason or another."

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see also
Driver declares himself Scottish
05 Feb 10 |  Hearts
Smith warns of Rangers dark days
03 Feb 10 |  Rangers
Mendes completes Sporting switch
30 Jan 10 |  Rangers
Smith critical of 'no sale' talk
29 Jan 10 |  Rangers
Rangers boss to work without deal
07 Dec 09 |  Rangers

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