GOOD fortune is something that has not touched Stevie Smith often in his career as he fights to make a good fist of a second spell at Rangers.
He succumbed to a number of injuries early in his career – many related to a pelvic and lower back problem – and he has yet to reach 120 matches since making his debut nine years ago. Now, he may be fighting fit and worldly wise having played in England and in the United States but the two positions he is best suited for in the Rangers line-up are occupied by two of Ally McCoist’s best performers.
Lee Wallace’s marauding runs down the left side of the field coupled with the excellent play of the young man ahead of him, Lewis Macleod, have been key features of Rangers’ runaway success in League 1. It may seem masochistic, but Smith was gushing in his praise for both of them yesterday when he visited a specialist children’s service centre in Glasgow’s Gorbals.
The 28-year-old, who has played five times this season, simply accepts that he will have to bide his time. He said: “Sometimes you have to realise the club you are at and the people that are playing in front of you and you just have to wait for a chance. I’m doing that just now and whenever I am called upon I will be ready. It’s hard the way Lee is playing but I knew that before I came. I watched him playing last year and I trained with the squad last year so I knew how good he was but it’s a challenge. He is playing really well at the moment but if a chance comes along I will take it.
“I’m surprised he hasn’t been starting for Scotland the way he has been playing. I think he deserves it for the hard work he has put in. I think it’s easy for people to say that the level he is playing at is not the greatest but you still have to go out there and perform.
“I would say he has been our best player every week. There are people scoring hat-tricks but for me week in week out he has been the top performer for the club. I can play left midfield but Lewis is in there at the moment and he is doing very well.
“When I came in to train last season I could tell he was a bit special. I think he has adapted very well to playing out wide because if you ask him he will tell you he wants to play in the middle. He links up really well with Lee Wallace down that side. I don’t have any regrets coming back. I knew the situation and I knew I wouldn’t play every week but when you are playing as many games as we are then you are going to need a squad.”
• Stevie Smith visited the Southbank Child Development Centre as part of the Rangers Charity Foundation’s support of the Yorkhill Children’s Charity.