WALTER SMITH was thrown a glimmer of hope last night as the SPL admitted they are “sympathetic” to Rangers’ ever-increasing fixture chaos.
The Ibrox side are still going or glory on four fronts – the SPL the Scottish Cup, the League Cup and the Europa League.
But following the weather problems in December and January they are already lagging behind others in terms of games played.
That led to a call from Smith for some help after the Gers beat Sporting Lisbon to progress in Europe, even though he acknowledged the problems faced by the Hampden officials who schedule matches.
And last night SPL secretary Iain Blair revealed the fixture calendar for the remaining months of the season will be looked at very closely over the next few days.
Blair said: “As far as I could see Walter is looking for no favours, just for us to look at everything sympathetically and with understanding and I would hope we do that with all our fixturing. He wasn’t being critical.
“The problem is we have a certain amount of games to be played and that, right now, there are a lot of variables involved.
“We don’t know in Rangers’ case, for instance, how far they will go in the Scottish Cup or in the Europa League.
“Although the one thing that does seem certain is that they will be playing more games between now and the end of the season than any other club.
“We will try to be understanding of the challenges they face
“At the moment, though, the only scope for options I can see – and it’s only a possible option – is that fixture 34, the first after the split, could be delayed but then only by four or five days.
“I will be looking at the whole situation for all the clubs in the next few days.”
It’s only a crumb that the SPL are throwing the Gers’ way, but Blair is hamstrung to a large extent.
He added: “There is no scope for example, to play after the Scottish Cup Final because Scotland, along with Ireland and Waes, are playing in the Carling Nations Cup then.
“All I can really add is that we’re aware of the situation and were going to look at it in detail this week.”
Madjid Bougherra believes a spot of good old-fashioned R&R will be the key to the Gers’ quest for glory.
The Ibrox defender admitted he’s feeling the physical strain of the four-pronged trophy assault already but declared: “Rest and recuperation will now be very important so we can try and stay fresh for every game.”
And despite the latest Euro triumph by the Light Blues the Algerian remains focused on the SPL championship as the priority ahead of anything else.
Rangers will look for three points against St Johnstone today before leaving league action behind again for their Scottish Cup replay against Celtic at Parkhead on Wednesday.
And then it will be only another week before they embark on the next stage of the Europa League adventure against PSV Eindhoven in Holland.
Bougherra said: “The championship is the priority, of course. We want to win the title so we get back into the Champions League again next season. We need to keep winning in the league and we know that.
“Hopefully we will be OK this weekend because Nikica Jelavic will be ready because he couldn’t play against Sporting Lisbon and others like Vladimir Weiss and David Healy are ready too.
“It’s back to the reality of the championship after we worked so hard in Lisbon to get the result we needed.
“This is not the first year we have been involved like this in Europe as well as chasing domestic prizes and rest along with recovery time will be the key if we want to win things.”
Published with thanks to the Scottish Sunday Express