Smith: Rangers' new owner must invest in squad

Outgoing Rangers manager Walter Smith has called on their new owner, Craig Whyte, to invest in the team to continue the club's success. Smith this season led Rangers to a third successive Scottish Premier League title, a 5-1 win at Kilmarnock on Sunday meaning that his side beat Celtic to the trophy by a point.

Smith then urged Whyte to entrust Rangers' new manager, Ally McCoist, with funds to strengthen the squad. Smith said: "Unless there is a significant investment then the team will stagnate. They just can't continue to do what they have been doing at the present moment.

"That is regardless of if I was the manager or anybody. Next season will be a problem. Hopefully, that will be looked at by the owners.

"But I don't think the new owner would have bought the club unless they were happy to put money into the team. The team needs a boost. He would be blind if he didn't realise that."

Smith has been operating with a smaller squad and tighter budget than during his first spell as manager at Ibrox, during Rangers' run of nine straight SPL titles. However, last summer he spent £4m on Croatian striker Nikica Jelavic, who missed part of the season through injury but has provided a "different dimension".

Smith added: "I don't think Jelavic will leave this summer. I don't think it would be the brightest thing for the new owner to sell one of our best players – especially when everyone expects him to spend money. He [Jelavic] just gives us something different up front – something we've never really had before. Kris Boyd could score, Kenny Miller could run through defences and, in the latter stages of his time at Rangers, he was scoring a lot of goals as well, but Jelavic gives us a mix of everything. He can run through, he can link up, he can score and it has brought a different dimension to the team."

Madjid Bougherra, meanwhile, has responded to a Celtic jibe by saying that experience had paid dividends after his side beat their Old Firm rivals to the title. Bougherra was overjoyed, but could not resist a retort to a comment from Celtic earlier this season.

He said: "It is fantastic as everyone knew our situation. We didn't have a big squad and we had many games to play, including in the Champions League and Europa League.

"Even so, we never complained and got on with our jobs. We did our best and in the end we were the champions. You know, I remember hearing a Celtic player – I think it was Kris Commons – saying they were younger, faster and better than us. I can tell him now that we are maybe older and slower but we are the champions once again."

Jelavic, who scored 19 goals this season, was thrilled with being crowned champions. The Croatia international striker said: "It was a great victory [over Kilmarnock] for us and I think we showed we were the best team in Scotland over the whole season. We deserve this title. This is the most exciting moment in my career and the biggest thing that has ever happened to me in football.

"I am delighted for the manager. He has done many, many good things for Rangers and in his last season, he has worked so hard for the title."

Sasa Papac hopes to be part of the squad under McCoist. The Bosnian, whose current contract expires this summer, said: "I hope I can sign another contract too because I have given everything to the club for five years and now I have eight trophies as a reward. We are still in talks with Rangers so we will see what will happen in the next couple of days, and I hope I can stay."

Kyle Bartley hopes to return to Rangers next season on another loan from Arsenal. The 19-year-old defender made nine appearances after moving to Ibrox in January before a knee injury cut short his spell.

He said: "There are talks going on with Arsenal as we speak so we'll have to wait and see but if I'm told I can come back that would be fantastic. The experience this year was invaluable and I really enjoyed my time so if I could come back next season that would be fantastic. All the boys get on really well and they're all great lads and now they can celebrate this success together."

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

War with Isis: Iraq declares victory in the battle for Tikrit - but militants make make ominous advances in neighbouring Syria's capital

War with Isis

Iraq declares victory in the battle for Tikrit - but militants make make ominous advances in neighbouring Syria
Scientists develop mechanical spring-loaded leg brace to improve walking

A spring in your step?

Scientists develop mechanical leg brace to help take a load off
Peter Ackroyd on Alfred Hitchcock: How London shaped the director's art and obsessions

Peter Ackroyd on Alfred Hitchcock

Ackroyd has devoted his literary career to chronicling the capital and its characters. He tells John Walsh why he chose the master of suspense as his latest subject
Ryan Reynolds interview: The actor is branching out with Nazi art-theft drama Woman in Gold

Ryan Reynolds branches out in Woman in Gold

For every box-office smash in Ryan Reynolds' Hollywood career, there's always been a misconceived let-down. It's time for a rethink and a reboot, the actor tells James Mottram
Why Robin Williams safeguarded himself against a morbid trend in advertising

Stars safeguard against morbid advertising

As film-makers and advertisers make increasing posthumous use of celebrities' images, some stars are finding new ways of ensuring that they rest in peace
The UK horticulture industry is facing a skills crisis - but Great Dixter aims to change all that

UK horticulture industry facing skills crisis

Great Dixter manor house in East Sussex is encouraging people to work in the industry by offering three scholarships a year to students, as well as generous placements
Hack Circus aims to turn the rule-abiding approach of TED talks on its head

Hack Circus: Technology, art and learning

Hack Circus aims to turn the rule-abiding approach of TED talks on its head. Rhodri Marsden meets mistress of ceremonies Leila Johnston
Sevenoaks is split over much-delayed decision on controversial grammar school annexe

Sevenoaks split over grammar school annexe

If Weald of Kent Grammar School is given the go-ahead for an annexe in leafy Sevenoaks, it will be the first selective state school to open in 50 years
10 best compact cameras

A look through the lens: 10 best compact cameras

If your smartphone won’t quite cut it, it’s time to invest in a new portable gadget
Paul Scholes column: Ross Barkley played well against Italy but he must build on that. His time to step up and seize that England No 10 shirt is now

Paul Scholes column

Ross Barkley played well against Italy but he must build on that. His time to step up and seize that England No 10 shirt is now
Why Michael Carrick is still proving an enigma for England

Why Carrick is still proving an enigma for England

Manchester United's talented midfielder has played international football for almost 14 years yet, frustratingly, has won only 32 caps, says Sam Wallace
Tracey Neville: The netball coach who is just as busy as her brothers, Gary and Phil

Tracey Neville is just as busy as her brothers, Gary and Phil

The former player on how she is finding time to coach both Manchester Thunder in the Superleague and England in this year's World Cup
General Election 2015: The masterminds behind the scenes

The masterminds behind the election

How do you get your party leader to embrace a message and then stick to it? By employing these people
Machine Gun America: The amusement park where teenagers go to shoot a huge range of automatic weapons

Machine Gun America

The amusement park where teenagers go to shoot a huge range of automatic weapons
The ethics of pet food: Why are we are so selective in how we show animals our love?

The ethics of pet food

Why are we are so selective in how we show animals our love?