Evening Times

This enigma machine has goals code to help unlock title for Blues

- THOMAS JORDAN

NEVER HAS a player divided the opinion of so many the way Kris Boyd has – and the Rangers striker knows he will never win everyone over regardless of how many goals he scores.

He would be the first name on Walter Smith’s team sheet for many of the Light Blue legions, but there are also many who are of the opinion he doesn’t do enough when he isn’t finding the back of the net.

Indeed, even his own manager admits other aspects of Boyd’s game aren’t up to the standard of his goalscorin­g – and that is the reason he has found himself on the sidelines more often than not when big European encounters come around.

Whether he has the credential­s to cut it at the highest level in Europe might be up for debate. One thing which isn’t, however, is his ability to find the back of the net in the SPL.

His double during his side’s 3 - 1 victory at Falkirk on Saturday took his SPL goal tally to 151. He is now just seven goals away from equalling Henrik Larsson’s record and that says it all about Boyd’s ability to hit the net.

When it comes to comparing the pair, it’s like night and day. Larsson wasn’t only an incredible goal scorer, but had everything you could possibly want in a player and Boyd would be the first to admit he is nowhere near that level.

But you can’t knock the way he hits the target so frequently and his goals will have a major say in the destinatio­n of the league title this season. That is how important he is to the Ibrox club.

Boyd’s contract expires at the end of the season and he will be in a position to sign for a new club on a Bosman in just a few weeks’ time. It means Rangers have a huge decision to make during the January transfer window.

Unless they can find a way to sign him up on a new deal, it means they could be set to lose a player who would easily command a transfer fee of around the £3million mark for nothing.

However, if they try and cash in on him and offload the striker during the January transfer window the n they would be putting their championsh­ip dreams at risk. So it makes for an interestin­g situation next month.

And the same could be said for all the players who stood out for Rangers in their win at the weekend.

Boyd, Steven Davis, Madjid Bougherra and Allan McGregor were the men who mattered. And they are the four players who are likely to be at the centre of all the speculatio­n when the transfer window reopens.

If Rangers were to lose any of them, it would impact on their chances of winning the league.

For the opening goal, it was Davis and Bougherra who combined to set Boyd up for a closerange finish and his second was from a similar range. But Rangers made life difficult for themselves by allowing Pedro Moutinho to pull one back before the break and it wasn’t until Kenny Miller netted from the penalty spot in the 74th minute that they made sure of the points. SMITH, however, was extremely pleased with the way his players responded after losing their previous league match 1-0 at Aberdeen.

“I felt we were excellent in the first half,” he said. “It’s the best start we have had for a long time, although we had one or two bits of slackness. But I certainly felt we deserved our lead.

“In the second half, Falkirk played very well for the first 20 minutes and they pushed us back for the first time and we were getting a bit concerned. But when we got the penalty I felt we took the wind out of Falkirk’s sails.

“I’m honestly delighted with how we played against Falkirk as they’ve started to pick up their performanc­es at home. I thought we played very well in what is always an awkward place to come.

“It was a bit harsh on Danny Wilson that we left him out but our team haven’t been playing t h at well over the last few weeks. I just felt that our more experience­d players could handle that. It’s unfair to put a young boy into a team that is struggling.”

Rangers will now take part in their final Champions League encounter of this season when they take on Sevilla in Spain on Wednesday.

But for Smith, it is maintainin­g consistenc­y in the league that is of most importance to him now.

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 ??  ?? Bougherra has sorted out his difference­s
Bougherra has sorted out his difference­s

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