Saturday 20 January 2018

Smith hopeful over Davis fitness

Rangers manager Walter Smith has revealed there is no serious damage to Steven Davis' hamstring and has vowed to give the midfielder every chance of facing Bursaspor in the Champions League.

Davis came off with 15 minutes remaining of the 3-2 Clydesdale Bank Premier League win at Aberdeen yesterday after feeling tightness in his right leg.

Immediately after the match, Smith was pessimistic about the Northern Ireland international's hopes of facing the Turkish champions at Ibrox on Wednesday, but he offered a glimmer of hope 24 hours later.

Smith told "Steven is experienced enough to know when something is wrong and he came off before any serious damage but it's still a major concern to us.

"We know that a bad hamstring injury can keep a player out for four to six weeks so we will just have to see how it is over the next couple of days.

"In that period Steven will hopefully feel he is fully recovered.

"He has started to play very well for us by his own standards, which are very high.

"His level of consistency since he has come to us has been terrific.

"I felt he has having his best game at Aberdeen when we had to take him off."

Steven Whittaker will recover from a head knock to play but James Beattie and John Fleck, who injured his hamstring in pre-season, will not be fit for the midweek clash.

"John Fleck I would hope would be ready to rejoin us by the end of the week and James Beattie the same," Smith said.

"He took a bit of a knock on his hip. We had hoped he would be ready for last weekend but it wasn't to be."

Rangers are looking to improve their home record after conceding 10 goals during Ibrox defeats by Unirea Urziceni, Sevilla and Stuttgart last season.

"If we can get four points from our opening two games that would be a great start," goalkeeper Allan McGregor said.

"We now have two games at Ibrox. Our home form in Europe is usually good but last year it was dreadful to be honest.

"We need to get that right, especially in front of our fans who are always brilliant on European nights. I'm sure that will help us as well."

While Rangers were shutting out Manchester United at Old Trafford, Bursaspor lost their opening match 4-0 at home to Valencia.

But McGregor will not be lulled into a false sense of security.

"Obviously it will be difficult as they are the Turkish Champions and have spent a lot of money as well," the Scotland goalkeeper added.

"We all know how hard it is to qualify for the Champions League these days and every team has a lot of quality.

"We will give Bursaspor respect and do our homework in the build up to the game.

"Our aim will be to win but even if that happens we will still have a lot of work to do as we have found out in the past.

"In 2007/08 we had seven points out of nine from our first three games and failed to qualify but we have to try and build on our result against Manchester United."

Press Association

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