Rangers players in limbo until takeover is done, admits Smith

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The Independent Online

Walter Smith admitted yesterday that the futures of some Rangers players would remain in doubt until a potential takeover of the club is resolved.

Madjid Bougherra, who has a year left on his current deal, revealed he has rejected a two-year contract extension and could leave the Scottish champions in the summer. Smith – who will be replaced at the helm by Ally McCoist at the end of the season – believes Rangers have not given up hope of retaining the defender's services.

But the veteran manager says any improved offer for Bougherra – and others in a similar situation – will depend on the outcome of Craig Whyte's protracted bid to buy the club.

Smith said: "The situation with Madjid is one where we sit down and make him an offer of a contract. He realises we can't really offer him any increases and I think that's the crux of the problem. If we eventually get to the stage where we have sold the club, we may be in a better position to go back.

"Therefore contracts that are being offered at the present moment – which we have to do – are restricted by that circumstance. So if it changes, we could always go back. I don't think there is any doom and gloom in the sense of losing players when, if we do have a change of ownership and things change, so could that situation."

Bougherra is just one of several players who remain on the casualty list ahead of tonight's Clydesdale Bank Premier League game at Aberdeen.

But Smith is at least hoping to discover the full extent of the foot injury suffered by Vladimir Weiss, with the on-loan Manchester City winger set to have a scan yesterday after revealing at the weekend he feared his season was over. Smith said: "He was at the specialist today. I've had no result on that. We are hoping there will be a reduction in the bruising on his foot.

"It looks as though we will lose him for at least another couple of weeks or so, which is obviously important for us with the amount of games we have to play in that period. That's an outcome we have to wait for. Once we get the result of that, we will know exactly what's happening with him."

While Rangers travel north to the Granite City with depleted resources, Smith fully expects Dons manager Craig Brown to field his strongest team possible, despite a Scottish Cup semi-final against Celtic looming this weekend. He said: "I don't think the cup game will come into it at all, I think it will be very similar to encounters that we've had up there."

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