Smith hails depleted Gers

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Rangers manager Walter Smith praised his side for their 1-0 win over Hamilton in the Clydesdale Bank Premier League after admitting they were down to the bare bones for the clash.

Smith was not even able to fill the bench, with several youngsters named as substitutes to make up the numbers as so many first-team regulars were unavailable. It was Nacho Novo - playing up front alongside Kyle Lafferty - who proved to be the difference between the two sides on a day where Hamilton would be justified in feeling aggrieved at ending the game empty-handed.

"It was an opportunity for them, there is no doubt about that. But putting them in for the first time and the number of changes we had to make made it awkward for the lads," said Smith.

"It was the same with Maurice Edu and Kevin Thomson. I was just delighted that we got the goal considering we were down to the bare minimum of players."

Novo netted with 12 minutes to go, after Mickael Antoine-Curier and Marco Paixao had spurned decent opportunities for Accies.

Smith added: "We didn't play well at all in the first half. Accies were the better side and we struggled to get to grips with them in all areas of the pitch.

"In the second half, we picked up a bit, played better and imposed ourselves on the game more and I was delighted that we got that late goal."

Rangers face Hamilton for a third consecutive time in Tuesday's Active Nation Scottish Cup replay at Ibrox after being held to a 3-3 draw last Sunday. And Smith does not expect his options to improve greatly for that game.

He said: "Kenny Miller will be back from suspension but I don't think anyone else will be back from injury.

"DaMarcus Beasley and Steven Naismith might be okay for next weekend but we will wait and see on both of them."

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Kyle Lafferty
Premier League
Kevin Thomson
Kenny Miller

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