Smith hopes to convince Kris Boyd to stay at Ibrox
Rangers manager Walter Smith is confident Kris Boyd would be a success if he opted for a move to the Premier League - but has not given up hope of persuading the striker to stay.
Birmingham boss Alex McLeish - who brought Boyd to Ibrox in 2006 - has confirmed his interest in being reunited with the forward, although Martin O'Neill has distanced himself from reports suggesting the player is bound for Aston Villa.
Asked if he thinks Boyd has what it takes to make his mark in the English top-flight, Smith replied: "I think he has, yes. He has gained experience in recent years and I think there is a realisation there that goalscoring, while still vitally important to everybody, has to be added to if you are going to step up and play.
"This season he has shown that, as well as towards the end of last season. It's not a new thing for him to get more involved in the game and play a bit more and start linking up.
"It's something he has been doing for about a year and there has been an improvement in that aspect."
So far, Rangers have had no approaches from any clubs regarding a fee for the striker, who is currently recovering from a hernia operation and who faces another few weeks on the sidelines.
That means the most like scenario would be signing a pre-contract agreement this month and moving on at the end of the season - or penning a new deal with Rangers.
"We want him to stay here," Smith said. "It's an important decision for the lad at the stage of his career that he's at. He's got a lot to take into account.
"I want him to stay with Rangers and hope that he gets what he wants there - goalscoring, European football on a regular basis - and I would hope that would be enough for him.
"We have made him an offer - other clubs have made him offers. It's quite right that he sits down and has a think about it. That's where we are at the moment. We are hopeful of retaining his services but we just have to wait and see.
"It's a big decision for someone who may feel there is an attraction in going somewhere else. We hope the attraction is to stay here and play - as a club, we have made that quite clear. Hopefully when the time comes for him to make his decision, it's a positive one from our own point of view."
Pedro Mendes - who will be named on the bench against Hearts tomorrow for the first time since sustaining a knee injury back in October - has also been the subject of speculation.
"We received an enquiry from Sporting Lisbon a fortnight ago and we've not heard anything from them since," Smith said.
Rangers are desperately trying to retain the services of their key personnel this month, while well aware that any new arrivals are highly unlikely as a result of the club's current financial plight.
In contrast, Celtic have already begun strengthening for their charge on the second half of the season with the signings of Ki Sung-Yueng, Thomas Rogne and Jos Hooiveld.
But - as Rangers bid to extend their lead at the summit of the SPL to 12 points tomorrow - Smith sees no need to cast envious glances across the other side of the city.
"Sometimes clubs find themselves in different positions," he said. "When I first started as manager at Rangers, Celtic weren't in good condition at that stage and the people who worked there had to put up with that. I've got to put up with it at the moment.
"I've had a situation at Rangers where there have been good times. Not that this is a bad time for us, it's just a fact of life at the moment that we have to put up with.
"We could be doing with a little bit of help but we know it's not possible. It's not a matter of envy, it's a matter of trying to keep everything going. We would be okay squad-wise if it wasn't for the injuries. Otherwise, we have a good group of players to work with."