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By ESPN Staff

Weir geared up for SPL opener

Veteran defender David Weir is determined to hit the ground running as Rangers begin their title defence this weekend.

• Weir signs one-year extension

The Glasgow giants open the new Scotiish Premier League season when they host Hearts at Ibrox on Saturday lunchtime.

The July 23 date is the earliest start to an SPL season but with a Champions League qualifier to play three days later, Rangers needed to be up to speed quickly anyway.

Captain Weir, 41, said: "I have never started as early as this. I think the short break means you get a short pre-season and you have to get up and running quickly.

"There are some really important games really early in the season.There is no settling-in period but you quickly realise that is the case at Rangers and these are the circumstances you work under.

"We are all used to it and we all realise the significance and importance of it. We have got to do a job. It is a massive weekend but every game is massive at Rangers, you soon realise that.''

Rangers wrapped up their pre-season preparations with a comfortable 2-0 win at Championship side Blackpool on Tuesday night. Midfielder Steven Davis underlined his value to the club on the day he signed a new five-year contract with both goals late in the first half.

Rangers dominated possession in a game of low intensity at Bloomfield Road but the hosts were playing their first game since relegation from the Premier League and losing talisman Charlie Adam.

Weir added: "It is about peaking at the right time. "We have had a couple of disappointing results earlier in the pre-season campaign but the closer you get to kick-off you want to be firing on all cylinders.

"I thought we were a lot better last night. I think we can kick on, get up and running and hopefully get points on the board quickly.

"We are starting a league campaign against Hearts, which is always a tough game and we will have to be in our stride straight away. But this will help us. I thought we were closer to where we want to be.''

Davis' decision to pen a new deal gave the club a further lift after Steven Whittaker and Allan McGregor committed their futures to the club earlier in the summer.

Even though Spaniard Juan Manuel Ortiz has been the only new addition since last season, Weir feels this is a clear indicator of the club's magnetism.

Weir, who himself signed for an additional year, said: "They're lads that have been a big part of the success we have had over the last few seasons. It says a lot about Rangers. I don't think we are surprised.

"There is definitely a spirit within the place. People enjoy being here and working here, and obviously we have had a level of success. If you are enjoying your work and you're successful - there are not many places like that.''


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