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Page last updated at 17:50 GMT, Thursday, 27 January 2011

Rangers could still make signings - boss Walter Smith

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Smith will keep trying with transfers

Rangers manager Walter Smith could yet bring in a couple of new signings to compensate for missing out on Derby County winger Kris Commons to Celtic.

Commons rejected an offer from Rangers before heading for signing talks with their rivals for the Scottish title.

"We will continue to look until the transfer window closes," said Smith.

"But we may still have the ability to bring in a player or two before the end, although there's nothing in the pipeline so far."

Smith had targeted versatile Scotland international Commons after selling striker Kenny Miller to Bursaspor.

But he was philosophical about missing out on the player, for whom Celtic were able to offer better personal terms despite Rangers having agreed a £500,000 fee with his English club.

"We had been keen to try to get the player and we have not got him," Smith replied when asked if it was especially disappointing to have lost out to Rangers' main rivals.

We believe in the squad here, we believe in the players we have here and feel we have enough in the squad to do big things this season

Rangers midfielder Maurice Edu

"Where he goes after that is really immaterial because he is not coming to Rangers."

A booking picked up by Lee McCulloch during Wednesday's 2-0 win over Hibernian will further stretch Rangers' squad.

The Scotland midfielder is now likely to miss February league games against Motherwell, St Johnstone and, perhaps most significantly, Celtic.

"We are still having a look, but so far we have not had anything that we feel would come in and enhance us in any way," Smith said of the possibility of adding a new signing.

Rangers' financial problems have limited the reigning champions' options and Smith is happy to be only five points behind Celtic with two games in hand.

"It was always going to be a big ask this season in terms of having the little bit of luck that's required to go though without a lot of injures and suspensions hitting us at the one time," he said.

"Here we sit toward the end of January and, if we win our two games in hand, we could go top of the league. We face the semi-final of the League Cup on Sunday.

Lee McCulloch is booked by Stevie O'Reilly
McCulloch (left) was angered to be booked by referee Stevie O'Reilly

"So, considering I thought we did a reasonable job in the Champions League and still have the Europa League to come, I would say we are handling the season well up until now.

"We have a lot of games coming up now, but we had a lot of games in the first half of the season and we managed to handle that."

Rangers midfielder Maurice Edu would welcome a strengthening of the squad but thinks the present staff are capable of retaining the title.

"We believe in the squad here, we believe in the players we have here and feel we have enough in the squad to do big things this season," he said.

Edu, who has failed to cement a regular startlng place this season, hopes to benefit from McCulloch's absence.

"It is a big loss," said the American. "He has been a consistent player for us the last few seasons.

"But it is an opportunity for someone else to come in and fill that void and the Old Firm game is obviously an important one for us and it is important that we step up to the plate there and try to get the job done in his absence.

"Jamie Ness has been doing well in the role he plays now. That creates competition and that position is one we do have depth in."

Meanwhile, Smith thought that initial talks with Sasa Papac had proved fruitful and expected the Bosnian defender to sign a new contract beyond the summer.



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see also
Celtic an easy choice for Commons
28 Jan 11 |  Celtic


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