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Alarm bells sounding for Everton

Everton
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By ESPN Staff

Smith happy to have signed long term deal

Steven Smith admits he jumped at the opportunity to pledge his future to Rangers.

The Ibrox full-back signed a new deal last week which ties him to the club until 2010.

The 21-year-old broke into the first team last season and is thrilled to have established himself at the club.

'I'm delighted to be here until 2010,' he said.

'I don't think it was a hard decision to make. I'm happy here and this is where I want to play my football.'

Smith has been an ever-present in Paul Le Guen's plans so far this term.

But he admits he feared the arrival of the new boss in the summer would signal his return to the fringes.

'To be honest, I didn't expect to play in so many games at the start of the season, with a new manager coming in,' he said.

'So I'm delighted to have played a part in every game this season.'

Rangers play host to Maccabi Haifa in the UEFA Cup tomorrow night just days after being held at home by Motherwell in the Bank of Scotland Premier League.

A lengthy run in the Champions League had a detrimental effect on their domestic campaign last term and they show signs of struggling to cope with a gruelling fixture schedule again this season.

But Smith insists he is relishing being involved in both competitions and believes the visit of the Israelis could be the ideal tonic after more disappointment in the SPL.

'After the game on Saturday, it gives us no time to feel sorry for ourselves,' he said. 'We need to pick ourselves up quickly and get the three points tomorrow night.

'Last season, we had the run in the Champions League and everybody enjoyed it. This season will be no different if we go far in the UEFA Cup.'

Saturday's draw with Motherwell leaves Rangers 12 points adrift of SPL leaders Celtic and with little hope of mounting a credible title challenge but Smith refuses to give up hope.

'It's just been consistency,' he said. 'We need to find that in the league and we're letting ourselves down.

'But we've proved in Europe that we are a good side and that we can play at that level.

'We know the SPL is our bread and butter and we know that's the one the fans want to win.

'We need to make sure that we try to do that.'