Smith delivers Rangers debt warning

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Rangers manager Walter Smith has warned that their off-field problems "will only get worse".

The Clydesdale Bank Premier League leaders moved closer to a domestic treble this week, but Smith fears that securing the title, and the guaranteed Champions League place that comes with it, will not alleviate their financial issues.

Rangers reached the Co-operative Insurance Cup final with victory over St Johnstone, 24 hours after seeing Celtic lose their game in hand at Kilmarnock without reducing the 10-point gap. Smith told BBC Scotland: "It doesn't take away from the fact that we have a problem."

The club are about £31million in debt and are seeking a new owner amid pressure from Lloyds Banking Group for the deficit to be repaid.

He added: "I think you need to be blind to think we don't have a problem that for a team of our standing we should not have, and my concern is that that will continue.

"We are only left to do what we have to do on the pitch and try as hard as we can and we are doing that.

"Anyone that has seen us play would say that, for whatever faults we all have from myself all the way down through the players, they don't lack a desire to try as hard as they can to win the game and they are managing to do that.

"But everything will not be all right at the end of the season. It will only get worse."

The club sold midfielder Pedro Mendes to Sporting Lisbon at the weekend but Smith was still unable to make his first permanent signing since August 2008 before the transfer window closed.

The former Scotland manager added: "We are delighted to be in the final, but anybody who thinks it is going to get better in the summer is deluding themselves. My concerns for Rangers for the long term - not even in the long term, for the end of the season - are genuine concerns as being a supporter as much as being a manager."

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