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Rangers manager Walter Smith pleads for takeover talks to end

Rangers manager Walter Smith has called for a quick resolution to the club's latest takeover bid.

Scottish tycoon Craig Whyte confirmed he is considering making an offer to buy Rangers after opening talks with Murray International Holdings.

The 39-year-old businessman has joined forces with London-based property developer Andrew Ellis, who was previously involved in a proposed buy-out which fell through earlier this year.

Although a formal offer for Rangers has yet to be made, a deal could be concluded by Christmas and Smith is keen to avoid a protracted saga.

He said: “It's not just the footballing side, from everyone's point of view, if there is going to be a resolution, then it should be handled as quickly as it possibly can.

“Unfortunately, I don't think these things can be done that quickly but I would hope it would go one way or another as quickly as possible.

“We've had had this two or three times before and we just have to wait and see what the outcome of this one is.

“For us in football, it's a matter of us carrying on and doing what we are doing. We have a big week coming up that we have to try to handle, starting with tomorrow's game.”

It is understood the new owner would wipe out the club's £27million debt, as well as invest around £25million in the playing squad over the course of five years.

When it was put to Smith that a Christmas takeover could also result in funds for him to strengthen in January, he said: “Never mind the transfer window or anything like that, when there is an element of doubt about the club and future owners, I don't think that's a great thing for the club.”

Smith, 62, will not reconsider his decision to leave Rangers at the end of the season, regardless of new ownership, and claimed he had no idea how such a scenario would affect Ally McCoist's hopes of replacing him at the helm.

Meanwhile, Madjid Bougherra has been added to the casualty list ahead of today's Clydesdale Bank Premier League game against Kilmarnock (12pm), with Maurice Edu and Sasa Papac also sidelined for the visit to Rugby Park, along with the longer-term casualties.

Reflecting on Rangers' injury worries, Smith said: “It's not a situation that we would say we fear as such but we have been wary of this situation and I did say that injury could affect our circumstances.

“We've got six out and we could be doing without it but we had roughly the same out last week and we handled it very well against Aberdeen.

“Hopefully we can do it again tomorrow against a club who are doing extremely well at the moment.”

Belfast Telegraph