Davis, Naismith, Lafferty, Whittaker, Ness all right to leave Rangers – Smith

Former Rangers manager Walter Smith believes the five players to have already left the club have been within their rights to do so.

Former Rangers manager Walter Smith believes the five players to have already left the club have been within their rights to do so.

Captain Steven Davis (Southampton), striker Steven Naismith (Everton), forward Kyle Lafferty (FC Sion), defender Steven Whittaker (Norwich City) and youngster Jamie Ness (Stoke City) have all departed Ibrox in the wake of the club falling into liquidation, opting not to switch their contracts over to Charles Green’s newco.

There has been criticism of the respective moves but ex-‘Gers boss Smith suggests that the players who do leave the Glasgow club should not be treated with disdain by supporters as they are simply covering the best interests of their careers.

“I don’t honestly think the boys who are going deserve criticism,” Smith said.

“People should remember that two years ago I had to tell them all they were on the transfer list because of the situation.

“They were terrific at that time and they all got on with it. It was an awkward situation but they were great.

“Everybody can be quick to criticise if they want to. I’ve never been in the position.

“The emotional aspect of being a former manager and being so closely involved means it’s a huge disappointment to see players of that quality leaving.

“But the question that everyone needs to ask is — what would you do in the circumstances?

“If you can put your hand on your heart and say ‘No, I’d have stayed’, you’re quite entitled to go ahead and criticise them.

“The players have chosen to go down that road. But like most Rangers fans I’d love to see them all still playing at Ibrox.”

 
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