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Vladimir Weiss deal not a Celtic hijack: Walter Smith

Walter Smith has refuted suggestions that Rangers hijacked Celtic's bid to sign Vladimir Weiss after winning the race for his signature.

The Scottish champions swooped to sign the Manchester City winger on a season-long loan, after the player was heavily linked with a move to the Hoops.

However, Smith claims he registered his interested in the 20-year-old weeks ago — well before he was aware Celtic had also targeted him — and insists Rangers did not steal him from the clutches of their Old Firm rivals.

“It's a nice media headline but I don't think that's the case,” said the Ibrox boss. “We enquired about the player just at the start of pre-season training, so you are looking at seven weeks ago.

“City said they couldn't make a decision at that time, that they would have to wait until nearer the end of the transfer window.

“They got in contact with us last week but there were a number of clubs in and we had no idea who they were at the time. We went back in to try and get a player we had asked about a good few weeks ago.”

Meanwhile, striker Nikica Jelavic has completed a £4million move to Rangers. Jelavic yesterday visited Glasgow to undergo a medical and negotiate personal terms.

And the 24-year-old has now sealed his switch from Rapid Vienna to the Clydesdale Bank Premier League champions.

Jelavic's move to Ibrox appeared close when he refused to play for

Rapid Vienna in the Europa League play-off against Aston Villa.

And the Croatian, who has agreed a four-year contract, has now become Rangers' third summer signing following the captures of James Beattie and Weiss.

Weiss arrived on a season-long loan deal from Manchester City yesterday and Jelavic becomes manager Walter Smith's second signing in little more than 24 hours.

Earlier yesterday, Smith revealed a deal was imminent after tracking the player all summer.

He said: "It's been quite a protracted one. There has been a few hitches and (chief executive) Martin Bain has had to work extremely hard to get that one over the line.

"We will hopefully do that this afternoon and fingers crossed that's the case. The player over that time has always said that he would like to join us and hopefully that can be completed this afternoon."

With the player's signature secured, Rangers are now waiting on a successful work permit application. Jelavic will not be part of the Rangers squad for tomorrow's clash with Hibernian at Easter Road.

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