RANGERS end of season NEWS

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New faces will make Kris Boyd a Rangers star

WALTER SMITH believes Kris Boyd can play a massive role for Rangers next season - if they successfully strengthen the team in the summer.

The Ibrox boss watched Boyd notch his 24th and 25th goals of the season on Saturday as Rangers ended a week of massive disappointment by lifting the Scottish Cup at Hampden.

But he knows the striker, who started just 25 of Rangers' 68 games this term, is frustrated at being left on the bench for most of the campaign as Smith played a lone striker in most of the club's big matches.

Boyd hinted strongly on Saturday that he will consider his future over the summer and Smith admits he can understand the player's frustration.

But the manager reckons Boyd, who also grabbed a double in the CIS Cup Final, can feature more regularly next term if Rangers can field a stronger team around him.

Smith said: "He's helped us win two cups this season with four goals in the two games.

"He is one of those players who is always liable to get you a goal.

"I'm quite happy to have him and there is no problem in that respect from my point of view.

"We HAVE played him in a lot of games and he has finished up our top goalscorer.

"I don't see it as a great problem but I know, from his point of view, he wants to play more often than he has this season.

"And maybe next season he will play more often.

"The stronger you get as a team, the more productive Kris Boyd will be.

"When you start out as we did with a brand new team you are never quite sure about its overall strength and he is not the ideal striker if you are only going to play with just one.

"He needs a partner to play with and needs the team to be strong round about him to get the best from him and that's not always an easy combination."

David Weir set to quit Rangers this summer

DAVID WEIR will almost certainly head back to England in the summer after being told he won't be an automatic first-team choice for Rangers next season.

The 38-year-old defender has been outstanding alongside Carlos Cuellar throughout the marathon 68-game season that ended on Saturday but Record Sport understands Rangers will try to bring in a centre-back to the club during the close season to partner the Spaniard next term.

Ibrox boss Walter Smith, who looks certain to offload injury-hit Andy Webster, would be delighted if Weir agrees to stay as back-up but the Scotland international is unlikely to want to sit on the bench in the twilight of his successful career.

Weir's family has remained in Lancashire and a move to a Championship club near his home would appeal. It is believed Owen Coyle's Burnley are interested and Weir would seriously consider an offer.

His Rangers and Scotland team-mate Christian Dailly is in the same position, with his family still living in England, and the 34-year-old also looks like returning south after six months in Glasgow.

Smith would like to keep the experienced player as back-up for a number of positions but he want to play regular football.

The Ibrox manager, however, hopes he can make Steve Davis's loan move from Fulham apermanent deal.

Rangers chief executive Martin Bain will try to strike a deal with the London club and could use Daniel Cousin - whose move to Craven Cottage was snagged by red tape in January - as part of the package.

Smith said: "I'll have a word with the lads and we'll see where we go from there.

"I would hope to keep them but we'll just have to wait and see how they feel about that."


Steve Davis tells Rangers: I want to stay at Ibrox permanently

STEVE DAVIS admitted he'd love to stay at Ibrox.

The Northern Ireland internationalist has been a huge hit since joining Rangers on loan from Fulham in January but now must wait to see if both clubs can come to an agreement over a transfer fee.

But whatever happens, Davis insists he's had the time of his life after achieving a lifelong ambition by turning out for the team he supported as a boy.

The midfielder said: "It was a great time to join the club for me personally. We challenged for four trophies which was great, although there has been a lot of disappointment in the past week.

"The progress the club has made in the past year has still been remarkable, really. Credit to all the boys and the manager for that because the club is on the up again.

"As for my future, I've said all along I wanted to wait until the end of the season. That time has now come.

"I've thoroughly enjoyed my time here so if something can be sorted out then that's good. If not we'll just need to see what happens.

"It's hard for me to say at the minute how things are going to work out because I don't really know.

"But I'd love to be here next season.

"I've not spoken with Fulham so everything is up in the air.

"I go on holiday next week so after that I'll hopefully get things sorted out which will allow me to look forward to next season."

Davis was delighted to get his hands on a Scottish Cup winner's medal at the end of a 10-day spell that saw UEFA Cup and SPL glory elude him. He said: "We've had a lot of disappointment recently, losing the UEFA Cup Final then the league in the last game.

"It was very important we finished the season on a high.

"We were in a no-win situation in this match because everyone expected us to win.

"But to be fair to Queen of the South they gave us a very good game and a great account of themselves.

"Luckily for us we're the winning side.

"At half-time we thought the game was dead and buried at 2-0 but credit to them for getting back into it with two quick goals. In the end it proved a very difficult game for us.

"Our side showed great character to get back in front but then we've done that throughout the entire season. It's been a tough campaign with the amount of games we've played.

"This was a big game - the Scottish Cup Final - but we didn't have much time to prepare.

"It was virtually 24 hours between matches but the boys dug in, worked hard and got their rewards in the end."


JOHN FLECK frustrated not to grab Cup Final goal

JOHN FLECK made history by becoming the youngest player to feature in a Scottish Cup Final.

But the kid reckons he should have written a further page in the history books by becoming the youngest to score in one.

The 16-year-old protege was thrown into the thick of the action by Walter Smith five minutes from the end of the 3-2 victory over Queen of the South.

And he believes he should have made in 4-2 in the dying seconds when his shot from a Barry Ferguson pass was blocked by a crowd of Dumfries defenders.

Agoal in the final, following the two he scored in the Youth Cup Final win over Celtic the previous month, would have been the icing on the cake for the nephew of former Rangers striker Robert Fleck.

But young John wasn't being too greedy. He was just delighted to have collected a cup winners' medal at such atender age and after only his third first-team appearance.

He said: "It's great for me to get on in the Scottish Cup Final at Hampden as a16-year-old.

"I played at Hampden in the Youth Cup Final a few weeks ago and that was special but to get into the first team at 16 is great.

"I'm usually nervous when I go on but there wasn't much time for nerves.

Iwasn't expecting to get the shout but the manager put me on against Aberdeen last week so that showed he has confidence in me.

"Everyone was on a high after the final which was quite different from the way it was up at Pittodrie. We didn't deserve to lose the league after the season we've had.

"But this is just great because this is my dream.I should have scored, right enough. Barry set me up near the end and I can't believe I missed it.

"I just wasn't expecting to get it back from him so that's what happened."

Fleck was given a standing ovation by the Rangers support when he replaced Jean-Claude Darcheville and it is clear the Ibrox faithful believe they are witnessing the birth of what could be a very special career.

But the youngster modestly insisted the only reason he received such a reception was because his uncle had a good Rangers career in the late 80s.

Fleck said: "The supporters were great when I went on but they've been like that, probably because my uncle played for Rangers before.

"I haven't spoken to him for a wee while but no doubt he'll be on the phone soon. It was still an amazing experience. I had a good few pals watching me - guys who are still at school - along with my family, my mum and dad and my cousins."

Fleck, who regularly sat on the bench this season, hopes to feature more regularly next term.

He said: "Playing for the Rangers first team is all I've ever wanted and I've done it. I'm ahead of schedule in terms of getting into the squad.

"My target next season is just to get on the bench for the first team as often as I can. Hopefully if I do that I'll keep being involved."

While Fleck was bursting with energy and enthusiasm at the end of the final, his skipper was just burst.

Ferguson played his 65th game of his season for club and countryand admitted his overriding emotion was one of relief at getting his hands on the Cup at the end of a difficult and draining week for the club.

He said: "It was a hard game but we're just happy to have won the Cup.

It wasn't a great performance but next season people won't remember that.

"We've got our name on the Cup and that's all that matters.

"We've come though a number of games like this one and when Queen of the South got it back to 2-2, we were just happy to get the winner.

"We came in at half-time 2-0 up and then 10 minutes later we'd conceded two goals. I thought at that point, 'Oh no, here we go' but fair play to us because we ground it out.

"I always believed you've got to believe and I did when I looked around at my team-mates.

"Boydie popped up again. People have a go at him, saying he can't hold the ball up and doesn't run about but as a goalscorer he is second to none.

"I don't know how he feels about things but Boydie has another couple of years on his contract and as far as I'm concerned he'll be here."

Ferguson said he couldn't wait to have a couple of beers and wind down at the end of an extraordinary season.

He said: "I just think the number of games we've played - I don't know what to say about it really. Just crazy.

"It's taken its toll on the boys but the spirit there is fantastic. They kept going right to the end and thankfully we got our name on the Cup.

"I just think the league should think about it in the future. Four games in seven days is a lot.

"Anyone who watched those four games must feel tired because I know how we feel. The thing is we got on with it and didn't complain."

DAMARCUS BEASLEY starting slot was perfect birthday present

DAMARCUS BEASLEY admits the news he was in the Rangers starting line-up for Saturday's Scottish Cup Final against Queen of the South caught him and his family by surprise.

The American's season looked to be over back in November when he suffered a knee injury against Stuttgart in the Champions League.

But the ex-PSV Eindhoven man returned ahead of schedule to come on as a substitute against St Mirren in the SPL last Monday.

Beasley then celebrated his 26th birthday by lining up against Queens and scoring in Rangers' 3-2 triumph over the First Division side.

He said: "I was surprised when I looked at the team sheet on the morning of the match and saw my name.

"I thought with Nacho Novo suspended I might be on the bench but we've so many players in the squad who are fit so anything could have happened.

"Playing in a big game like that on my birthday was exciting and to help Rangers win was a great feeling.

"None of my family was at the match as they didn't know I was going to play but they were calling me later to wish me happy birthday as well as congratulating me about the game.

"It was fun being out there for the first time in five months and to top if off we won the Cup. So it was a great day."

Beasley admitted he is unsure that adding the Scottish Cup to the CIS Cup won in March makes up for the disappointment of falling at the final hurdle in the SPL and UEFA Cup.

He said: "It's a tough question. The SPL is our priority but at the same time two out of four isn't bad.

"We won two finals, reached another and got pipped at the wire for the championship.

"I'm sure the gaffer has a couple of players in mind to add to the squad. So I'm very confident we can win the SPL title next season."


LEE McCULLOCH Freddie Mercury won the Scottish Cup for Rangers.

The Ibrox midfielder came clean over the comedy look match-winner Kris Boyd adopted for Hampden Park's showpiece occasion of the Scottish season.

McCulloch's success in a bet left Boyd with a forfeit to make - growing a ridiculous moustache.

Rangers' players were at their lowest ebb of the campaign on Friday afternoon just hours after their dream of an SPL title had been ripped away by rivals Celtic.

However, Boyd lifted the gloom and spirits for Hampden by walking in on the rest of the squad looking like Queen's lead singer.

McCulloch laughed: "I had a daft bet with Boydie. I'm not saying what it was but it certainly helped lift the boys after Thursday.

"We were all down but the big man came in with that moustache and it got us all going again.

"It was a fair bet and he lost so he had to do it.I thought he looked like Freddie Mercury."

Boyd joked: "I wish I could sing like him." But there was nothing amusing to Gordon Chisholm's men over the way the striker crushed their hopes of glory.

The Scotland hitman's sizzling free-kick and towering winning header took the trophy to Ibrox after a gruelling 90 minutes of the side's 68th match of the campaign.

Boyd has grown increasingly frustrated by his lack of starts under manager Walter Smith but McCulloch insists there is no doubting the attacker's attitude and ability.

He said: "Boydie was brilliant. The free-kick speaks for itself but I thought his header was something special as well.

"Boydie has been frustrated this season and hasn't played as many games as he would have liked but that's been the same for a lot of guys.

"He kept his head down and kept working hard. Boydie knows you can't doubt the gaffer because he has so much experience.

"He has just kept his silence and when he got into the team he scored goals.

"Of course, I hope he stays. He's the best finisher I've ever played with.

"He's just a big honest pro and you know when that ball goes into the box he's going to be on the end of it."

Boyd's ability to get on the end of things ensured Barry Ferguson lifted the silverware at 5pm on Saturday and gave the season a pleasant ending for the Ibrox fans.

After the disappointment of losing the UEFA Cup Final and the SPL title, the celebrations were quieter than usual following the win.

However, McCulloch insisted that was down to nothing more than being totally and utterly drained after playing 68 matches.

He said: "I think Saturday just showed how many games everyone has played this season. Everyone is so tired right now.

"Even the scenes at the end were quite subdued.

"We spoke about it afterwards. When we won the CIS Cup earlier in the season, everyone was in the dressing room jumping about and going crazy.

"But it was pretty quiet on Saturday, everyone was just dead on their feet at the end.

"I don't think we had the energy to celebrate, if I'm being honest.

"We're delighted to have won the cup but things weren't as crazy as they were after we won the CIS Cup.

"I'm not saying it was flat, we were just spent."

For that reason, McCulloch and his team-mates were due credit for managing to lift themselves over the Hampden finishing line.

Having taken the sting out of Queens in the opening exchanges, Boyd's free-kick and aDaMarcus Beasley strike just before the break had Smith's men in total control at the interval.

But the First Division team leapt from the canvas to deliver a couple of painful punches of their own at the start of the second period.

Steve Tosh reduced the deficit after good work from Sean O'Connor and the Queens fans were still celebrating their first goal when along came their second.

Skipper Jim Thomson rose majestically above McCulloch to power home Robert Harris' in swinging and inch-perfect free-kick delivery from the right flank.

Boyd, though, had the final say and McCulloch said: "There was abit of relief for everyone at the end.

"The game was scrappy at the start but we got our goals and we were looking comfortable, perhaps too comfortable.

"Things got a bit easy for us and we took our foot off the gas alittle.

"Queens came back at us at the start of the second half and you have to give them a lot of credit for that.

"They could really have shocked us but big Boydie popped up with the goal and we hung on.

"We were dead on our feet at the end but I think you have to give us a bit of credit.

"At 2-2 we could easily have crumbled but we dug in.

"Our team spirit has been great all season and I think that saw us through on Saturday.

"It was great to get our hands on the Scottish Cup."

McCulloch knows the win did not make up for the last-day championship heartbreak at Aberdeen.

But, correctly, the Scotland star did insist the campaign had been a success despite the UEFA Cup and SPL setbacks.

Having won nothing in the two previous seasons, both trophies for the domestic cup competitions are at Ibrox.

McCulloch said: "The lads have put so much into the season and it would have been adisaster to leave Hampden without a winner's medal.

"Ally McCoist said before the game that even if we didn't win you could still argue it had been a great season.

"But we knew how important victory was at the weekend. We had to do it for ourselves and for the fans.

"The CIS Cup would have been scant consolation given the amount of effort we have put into the campaign.

"Thursday night was a massive disappointment and everyone was so down on Friday.

"But we knew we had to lift ourselves because, at the end of the day, it was a Scottish Cup Final."


Ferguson may avoid surgery

Rangers manager Walter Smith believes captain Barry Ferguson will not require an operation on his troublesome ankle injury.

The 30-year-old midfielder played in 61 of the Gers' 68 games last season as they chased success on four fronts.

Ferguson played through many of those games carrying various knocks in addition to a persistent ankle problem, but Smith is hopeful a well-earned break during the close season will be enough for his skipper to avoid having to go under the knife.

"It has been more niggly things than anything else," Smith told Sky Sports. "I think the rest will help him.

"He's going to see the specialist in the early part of next week about his ankle but we are confident that there is no surgery required.

"A bit of rest and recuperation will do him the world of good."

Smith, meanwhile, aims to boost his playing ranks after a demanding campaign.

"There will be a lot of movement of players in the summer and I'm sure we will have one or two leaving," he added.

"It may mean that we will have to bring in more than the two or three that we are trying to bring in at the present moment."


Smith vows to keep Cuellar

Rangers boss Walter Smith has warned off clubs planning to make a move for Carlos Cuellar.

The Spanish defender has been a revelation at Ibrox since his arrival from Osasuna last summer.

The giant centre half was instrumental in Rangers' pursuit of honours last season as he helped them to win the Scottish Cup and CIS Insurance Cup.

Newcastle have continually been linked with Cuellar, but Smith says Rangers will pull out all the stops to keep the 26-year-old.

"We don't want any enquiries for him," Smith told Sky Sports News. "He has played exceptionally well for us this season.

"For his first year in a foreign country he has had a fantastic season.

"We don't want any enquiries for him. If we do we will try as hard as we possibly can to keep him."

BYE BYE SEBO

Filip Sebo is set to leave Rangers to join Valenciennes after scoring five goals in 11 starts during his time on loan at the French club.
 

IANB

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Top man Rab. Some good reading there m8.
Thank god the seasons done. The lads deserve a well earned break.
I still think 99.9% of true Gers fans will be applauding their efforts this season. I know i am:Clap::Clap::Clap:
 

IANB

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Pmsl i just read your siggy.
"The tash my father wore" Ya nutter lol
 
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