David Weir wants to play on if he's offered a new deal

DAVID Weir has given the strongest indication yet that he is ready to consider extending his remarkable playing career into his 41st year as Rangers captain.

The consistency and influence of the veteran defender, who has played in every minute of every SPL fixture for the Ibrox club so far this season, was recognised in Glasgow last night when he was named Player of the Year by league sponsors Clydesdale Bank.

Any notion that the award was made with an element of sentimentality would cause justified offence to Weir, who has proved himself to be so much more than the stop-gap signing Walter Smith envisaged when he brought him to Rangers on an initial six-month contract back in January 2007.

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The former Falkirk, Hearts and Everton player is now on the verge of leading the club he supported as a boy to a second successive SPL crown and it is by no means certain it will prove to be his swansong in the light blue jersey. While uncertainty continues to surround Rangers off the pitch, Weir would be happy to be placed in the position of having the offer of another year at the club on the table.

"Yes, I do want to keep playing," said Weir. "As it stands, I am enjoying it but I have to weigh everything up at the end of the season. You have got to have an option to play on first of all. If that is the case, then hopefully I will have a decision to make here. As I say, I will wait until the end of the season to see how the land lies then. We haven't reached that yet. Until we get there, we will just leave it at that. I'm sure we will have a conversation at the end of the season. Things could change quickly.

"I want to keep playing but there is still a month of the season left and it could alter.

"Everybody says you should play as long as possible, that seems to be the general consensus. You are a long time not playing. But you have to balance that with the possibility of not doing yourself justice. You don't want to be at a level where you are not doing well enough or you are letting people down. That defeats the object.

"I wouldn't say I have a fear of that, but I would just have to be honest with myself. If you think that is going to be the case, then you make a decision. A year is a long time, so you can't think too much into the future. You have to base it on how you are feeling. That's what I have done in the last few seasons. I have felt okay and taken it from there."

Weir, who will celebrate his 40th birthday on 10 May, has never craved individual recognition and until this season, it has scarcely been forthcoming. Prior to last night, his only similar award came in 2001 when he was named Player of the Year by Everton supporters. He could yet add further weight to his mantlepiece in the coming weeks as he has been nominated for the PFA Scotland Player of the Year prize and is also a strong contender for the Scottish Football Writers' Association's honour.

"I was nominated for the PFA award when I was at Hearts," he said, "but this is the first one of this kind I have won. I don't know if this has been one of my best seasons, that's for others to judge. If I am getting an award, then some people must think that, but I always look at it on a short-term basis. I think about how I did last week and how I will do next week, rather than the whole season. Seasons are judged on whether your team is successful."

In appreciating every single day he has as a player, Weir is always mindful of those less fortunate than himself. This season alone has seen two former Scotland defenders, John Kennedy and Lee Wilkie, forced to retire before their 30th birthdays because of serious injury.

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"That puts it all into perspective for me," added Weir. "I realise I am very lucky that my body has allowed me to play on as long as I have because those lads have had their careers cut short through no fault of their own. That's tragic, it really is.

"It is something I am aware of, I'm lucky I have had the opportunity. Hopefully John and Lee can go on and contribute something else to the game. A lot of players have retired early and followed other paths successfully. I played with Lee for Scotland and he is a nice lad. He didn't deserve what happened and it was the same with John."

Weir's own longevity, of course, is not wholly attributable to good fortune. His own physical regime and professionalism have played a key role in his Indian summer at Ibrox during a period while his family still live in England.

"It's about getting proper rest between games," he said. "As you get older, it takes longer to recover but we have the facilities at Murray Park to maximise your recovery. The games themselves remain the same for me. It's actually harder if you miss games, coming in and out of the team. If you play every week and get into a rhythm, it's much easier.

"The commuting is generally no problem and the manager makes it easy for me. If we don't have a midweek game, he maybe gives me an extra day off if I want it. I travel by train, it's not taxing at all, and my wife is quite happy with it. You have to keep an eye in it, you don't want it to become an issue in terms of your family, but it hasn't affected things so far."

Awards in full

Manager of the Season

Walter Smith (Rangers)

Player of the Season

David Weir (Rangers)

Young Player of the Season

David Goodwillie (Dundee Utd)

Goal of the Season

Anthony Stokes for Hibernian v Rangers at Ibrox (24 November)

Save of the Season

Artur Boruc for Celtic v Hibs at Easter Road from David Wotherspoon shot (30 August)

Under-19 League Player of the Season

Dale Hilson (Dundee Utd)

Best Club Media Relations


Best Community Initiative

Hibernian's Under-19 Community Engagement Initiative

SPL Family Champions

St Mirren FC