Too much is being made of Rangers' debt - Walter Smith
Smith praised his players for helping Rangers in adversity
Rangers' financial plight is being blown out of proportion, according to manager Walter Smith.
The club have been unable to purchase a player for 20 months as Lloyds Banking Group tries to control the £31m debt.
"It is a bit exaggerated," said Smith. "Rangers' debt can be handled by the club. It is a normal business protocol to have a certain level of debt.
"I don't think the restrictions are something that, as a manager, you are that conscious of."
Smith's comments are less dramatic than those he made in February, when he warned that "everything will not be all right at the end of the season, it will only get worse".
Three transfer windows have opened and closed without the Ibrox club bringing out their cheque book.
The last arrival was American midfielder Maurice Edu, who they signed from Toronto in August 2008.
If clubs have a level of debt and it can be handled then it's no different from anybody else
Rangers manager Walter Smith
In that time, there has been pressure by the bank for the club to control their spending and level of debt.
While keen to play down Rangers' financial problems, Smith did acknowledge that he has felt the pinch this season.
"You start to feel it now and again, like January, where, with the smaller group of players, we had quite a number of injuries and we had a struggle to get through there," he told reporters at his Murray Park media conference.
"But we have had excellent performances from a whole lot of players spread over the season.
"We've had a group of players who have shown a great attitude and determination to go and win games and that has stood us in good stead."
Those players, and the management team of Smith, Ally McCoist and Kenny McDowall, have contributed to the club's success to date in the current campaign, with the Co-operative Insurance Cup in the trophy room and three wins required to retain the Scottish Premier League.
When asked for his thoughts on Falkirk manager Steven Pressley's comments that clubs who tried to keep their accounts in the black were at an unfair advantage, Smith was keen to point out that it is all relative to a club's ability to service the debt that they accumulate.
"That's life. That's what happens in every business and every walk of life. It happens on a personal basis," he said.
"If clubs have a level of debt and it can be handled then it's no different from anybody else.
"The problems come when they can't.
"We can handle it, but we can't increase it any. We have reached stalemate in that respect, but we have known that for a while."
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