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Naismith tipped to come back stronger

By Lisa Gray

Steven Whittaker has backed Rangers team-mate Steven Naismith to return from his latest injury setback stronger than ever.

Naismith's season is over after being told he faces around nine months on the sidelines with anterior cruciate ligament damage to his right knee sustained in Saturday's 2-1 win over Aberdeen in the Clydesdale Bank Premier League.

The 25-year-old suffered a similar injury to his other knee in 2008 and was out for eight months first time around.

The midfielder had been in top form with nine goals for the Scottish champions this term and Whittaker admits Naismith's absence will be a major blow.

He said: “Without doubt we're all devastated for him. It's a big disappointment for the team and for him because he has been fantastic.

“Already this season he has scored umpteen goals so there's no doubt we are going to miss him.

“His hand went straight in the air as he crumpled to the ground and it was pretty clear then that it looked like it would be serious.

“You never know until you get the scan done but we thought it would be serious and it has turned out that way.

“He's a determined character though and we all know what he's like at this club. He has a great personality and hopefully he'll back to his best sooner rather than later.

“It's never nice getting one of these serious knee injuries but in the modern game a lot of players are coming back from these types of injuries whereas in the past it might have been career threatening.

Manager Ally McCoist hopes previous experience of the injury will help Naismith's recovery this time.

He said: “Naisy has recovered from a serious knee injury before and he will come back. He is a fighter and a popular member of the squad and we will all work hard to win games for him while he is out.”

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