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Smith asks SPL chiefs for help with European games

Rangers boss Walter Smith wants SPL bosses to think more carefully about their scheduling of games ahead of European weeks. Rangers travel to Aberdeen in the SPL on Sunday before hosting Bursaspor in the Champions League on Wednesday.

In contrast, the Turkish champions faced Bucaspor on Friday night, giving them more time to prepare for the midweek visit to Glasgow than their hosts.

Asked if it would be a benefit to Scottish clubs to be given extra preparation time ahead of European games, Smith said: "This comes up over the seasons. The answer to that is yes.

"But I know, through the managers I've met with the Scottish League and others, the difficulties they face, especially with rescheduling television games.

"I just think at times it would be helpful if Scottish teams got the same help that some of the European teams get.

"But it's only some of them, not all of the European teams allow their teams to play on a Friday night prior to Champions League games.

"We just have to accept it and get on with it. It's just what we have to do. There is no use complaining about it.

"Bursaspor can get their game moved back from Sunday to Friday but unfortunately we can't.

"There is no complaint from us, it happens each and every year that we've got a team in the Champions League or, indeed, in European football.

"It's a busy fixture list but we just have to put up with it."

Bursaspor are clearly taking the meeting with Rangers seriously following a 4-0 defeat to Valencia in their opening game.

Smith added: "I think it will give them a bit of an advantage, especially in an injury situation as a couple of days can make a difference, but not in terms of freshness.

"We've all been criticised for indifferent form in European games but if it's going to help the co-efficient, we should be looking to help all the clubs, not just us in this situation.

"But it's as it is and we just have to get on with it."

Rangers suffered as a result of a gruelling fixture schedule on their way to the UEFA Cup final in 2008 and Smith admits another extended run could lead to problems.

But he concedes that a busy fixture schedule should not be too much of an issue at such an early stage in the campaign.

"At this stage of the season, we are not looking at players being tired or anything like that," said Smith.

"Three games in a week is not a problem for them at this time of the year.

"Maybe if it's a continuing factor then maybe around January and February they could start to feel it a little bit.

"But, at the moment, we are only into the season and have only played seven or eight games so I don't think you really need to start bothering about playing three games a week at this stage.

"The obvious factor is injury, if we get hit by some injuries, we might have one or two problems.

"But we look forward to the three games we've got this week, they are big games for us.

"Away at Pittodrie, at home to Bursaspor, and then away at Tynecastle next Saturday. These are big games."

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