Walter Smith decision brings stability - Andy Webster
Smith deal brings stability - Webster
By John Barnes
Andy Webster says Walter Smith's decision to stay as Rangers manager for another year will bring stability to the Scottish champions.
The Scotland defender is back at Ibrox after spending a successful year on loan to Dundee United.
"It's important for the football club," said the 28-year-old.
"It brings a bit of stability. Obviously the manager knows what it takes to win and I'm sure all the players are happy with it."
Injury problems followed by his spell at Tannadice have meant that Webster has played only once for Rangers since arriving from Wigan Athletic three years ago.
He will be pushing to become a mainstay of Smith's defence this time round after ending the season as United captain and helping them to third in the Scottish Premier League and to victory in the Scottish Cup final.
Any goalscorer who gets 30-goals plus in a season is an outstanding record and it would be a massive benefit to us if we can keep Kris Boyd
But who his potential partners or rivals for a place in central defence will be remains uncertain.
Danny Wilson, who became a first-team regular this season while only 18, is waiting to complete a transfer to Liverpool, while Madjid Bougherra could inspire interest depending on his performances for Algeria in the World Cup finals.
Kirk Broadfoot, who returned to the side at the end of the season after missing much of the campaign through injury, is out of contract and has been linked with a move to English Premier League newcomers Blackpool.
And David Weir, who turned 40 after the end of the season, has yet to decide whether to continue at Ibrox - or with football at all - despite having played every minute of every game for Rangers in the past season.
The former Scotland defender had said that Smith's decision about whether to remain manager would have an influence on his own thoughts.
Kris Boyd, who finished the season as the top scorer in the Scottish Premier League, is another who Smith will probably hope to retain, discussions with out-of-contract players being the next stage for the retained management team.
"Any goalscorer who gets 30-goals plus in a season is an outstanding record and it would be a massive benefit to us if we can keep him," added Webster, who was speaking at the launch of Rangers' new strip.
Boyd has been linked with Birmingham City, Hertha Berlin and a number of other clubs in Turkey and England.
Rangers retained the title - and won the Co-operative Insurance Cup - last season despite being unable to strengthen their squad because of bank concerns over their debt of about £30m.
However, while announcing Smith's new contract, with assistant Ally McCoist and coach Kenny McDowall being lined up to take charge next summer, chairman Alastair Johnston said that the bank had agreed that some funds would be made available to strengthen the squad.
"Some Champions League revenue and general profit from this year" will be invested in the playing squad, with wage levels being maintained.
Rangers' strip features for the first time new sponsor Tennent's, the former backer of the Scottish national team which is taking over from drinks rival Carling in having their name displayed on the shirts of the Ibrox club and Glasgow rivals Celtic.
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