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Smith certain fans' anger won't affect Gers players

Rangers manager Walter Smith is confident fans' unrest over the running of the club will not have a detrimental effect on his players' performances.

Supporters' groups planned to protest against the influence of Lloyds Banking Group ahead of Saturday's game against Hearts. Despite claiming plans for the demonstration were scuppered, some banners were visible inside the stadium.

But Smith said: "That has surrounded us now for a long time and I don't think it's going to have any great effect on the team in any way, shape or form."

While Rangers' financial plight has been well documented, Smith was keen to praise the efforts of other SPL managers who also find themselves working within tight budget restraints.

The Scottish champions face St Mirren in the SPL tonight and Smith believes Buddies boss Gus MacPherson is a prime example of a manager producing results in difficult circumstances.

"St Mirren are a settled team, they set out their stall and make it difficult for everyone to play against them," said Smith, who yesterday saw striker Nacho Novo fined £500 and severely censured by a Scottish Football Association disciplinary committee for his one-fingered gesture during November's defeat at Aberdeen.