Smith hails the durability of Rangers

RANGERS boss Walter Smith paid tribute to his players for their ability to grind out results in testing circumstances after moving ten points clear at the top of the Clydesdale Bank Premier League.

The champions were boosted by the return of Kenny Miller, Steven Naismith and Nacho Novo from injury as they returned to winning ways with a 2-0 victory at St Mirren.

But Smith admits it has been a tough month for the Ibrox club, who have seen their squad stretched to the limit by injury and suspension.

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Pedro Mendes – despite being named on the bench for the last two games – is still lacking in fitness, while Kris Boyd continues his recovery from a hernia operation and Madjid Bougherra remains on international duty at the African Nations Cup.

Even relief over Miller's return may be premature, with the striker struggling during the clash in Paisley and a slight question mark now hanging over his involvement for the visit of Falkirk at the weekend.

Smith said: "We always work hard enough in the games. We have always got a good attitude from the boys. "They seem to have a winning attitude and they don't like losing."

Rangers enjoyed the best possible start to the game when Steven Davis netted his first goal of the season with just two minutes on the clock.

However, the visitors had to wait until four minutes from time for Novo to secure the points and end any hope of a Saints comeback.