Walter says Gers goal ace must stay
WALTER SMITH has urged Rangers to keep a tight hold of star striker Nikica Jelavic in the transfer window.
The Croatian has netted 14 goals so far this season to help the champions open up a four-point advantage at the top of the SPL.
But their resolve could be tested again next month after Jelavic was the subject of a failed £6.5million bid from Leicester in August and was recently linked with a January move to Liverpool.
If the player does move on, former boss Smith – who signed Jelavic for Rangers in August 2010 – believes cash generated from the sale must be re-invested back into the playing squad swiftly.
He said: “For Rangers to hold onto any of their players has been important. We have lost players in the past in the January transfer window and were disappointed in doing so.
“I know we managed to handle it but I think it’s important for Rangers to do that.
“Whether the club will lose anybody or not, we will just have to wait and see.
“Obviously, the loss of Jelavic would be something they could well do without.
“If Rangers did lose him, as long as the majority of the money went back towards getting someone of a very similar standard, then you would say they could come back from that.
“I think the preference would be to keep Jelavic. That would help greatly in terms of Rangers’ opportunities to retain the title.”
Smith believes next week’s Old Firm clash at Celtic Park could prove pivotal to the outcome of the title race as Ally Mccoist aims to steer the Light Blues to the SPL crown in his first season in the hotseat.
His predecessor Smith said: “I think Ally’s handling it well. He had new players at the start of the season and there is always a little bit of a problem in trying to get these players into your team.
“The European games were disappointing, but the league form has been terrific. The consistency they have shown has been great.
“The next few matches are vitally important. If you go into the second half of the season at the top of the league, that’s a big thing psychologically.”