Injured Steven Naismith set to return this season

RANGERS manager Ally McCoist has not ruled out the possibility of seeing Steven Naismith back in action for the Ibrox club before the Clydesdale Bank Premier League season ends on 13 May.

The 25-year-old Scotland international was expected to miss the remainder of the campaign after suffering a cruciate ligament injury against Aberdeen on 29 October, less than six months ago, but has recovered sufficiently to resume running ahead of schedule.

Naismith, who has been the subject of recent transfer interest from English Premier League club West Bromwich Albion, has previously recovered from a similar injury to his other knee.

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McCoist told Blues News: “Stevie is doing really well and he was going for a scan today just to check up on his knee and make sure everything is okay.

“He’s coming along really nicely, but there is no point in rushing anything at the moment with the end of the season coming.

“With that said, it would be nice to see if Naisy maybe could get a game in somewhere, although we’d obviously take advice from the medical team on that.

“For his own peace of mind, if nothing else, it would be good if he could get 45 minutes somewhere and then he could go away and have a holiday knowing he is absolutely fine.

“It’s not a disaster if that doesn’t happen, though, and if he comes back in pre-season instead, we will be fine with that.

“The one thing about Steven is he trains and works exceptionally hard all the time, whether he is training or coming back from an injury.

“He’s got that kind of attitude and mental strength that always gives you a chance of coming back that little bit earlier when you’re out.”

It is understood that West Brom are set to step up their interest in Naismith with an improved offer of £2.5 million.

The West Midlands club had a £2m bid rejected by Rangers earlier this month, but have not given up hope of landing the player.

Manager Roy Hodgson is confident his new offer will be enough to land the 15-times capped midfielder.

McCoist, meanwhile, expects Lee Wallace and Steven Whittaker to recover from less serious injuries before Rangers’ next game, the SPL trip to Hearts on 21 April.

Scotland full-backs Wallace (ankle) and Whittaker (hamstring) both missed the 3-1 victory over St Mirren on Saturday.

“Steven was out running this morning and I spoke to big Lee, who is feeling a lot better,” McCoist said. “My hope is they’re back training fully with the squad early next week.”