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Stevie - Great to be back


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Great To Be Back

By Andrew Dickson

STEVIE SMITH revealed his delight at being in first-team action again after helping Rangers to the Scottish Cup semi-finals in their 2-0 win over Partick.

The 22-year-old full-back made his first start since the 1-1 draw with Celtic in December 2006 after spending the last 16 months out with a pelvic problem.

Smith did well on an awkward surface at Firhill and pleased away fans with a number of good tackles in a combative performance.

Now he hopes he has done enough against Thistle to feature at some point in Wednesday's vital SPL clash with Old Firm rivals Celtic at Parkhead.

Smith said: "It was a hard game to come back in and I found it difficult at first but it was great to play the full 90 minutes.

"I've been doing a fair bit of moaning and I think everyone has been getting a wee bit annoyed with hearing about how desperate I am to play.

"But hopefully now that I am back, I've given the manager another option and it would be great to be involved against Celtic in midweek.

"I've been keen to show I'm ready to play again and I'd like to think I've been able to do that this afternoon."

Understandably, the pace of play started to get the better of Smith in the closing stages but by then the Light Blues were in cruise control and coasting towards the last four.

The young defender was satisfied with the professional manner shown by Rangers and insists winning is all that's important to them just now as they chase three trophies.

He added: "I started to feel tired with about 20 minutes to go but I was just delighted to get through the match.

"Partick made it hard for us on a difficult pitch but we expected that and I felt we handled the situation well.

"With the way things are at the moment, whatever team the manager picks just has to go out and win football matches as that is what we're all paid to do.

"Guys like Davie Weir and Christian Dailly tell us what we're expected to do and we have got to go out and do a job."


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