Smith hopes for Madjid release
Rangers boss Walter Smith hopes Algeria will allow Madjid Bougherra to play in next month's Old Firm derby.
Last Updated: 11/12/09 7:24pm
Rangers boss Walter Smith hopes Algeria will allow Madjid Bougherra to play in next month's Old Firm derby with Celtic.
Algeria are determined that Bougherra joins up with them for their pre-African Cup of Nations training camp on 27th December.
It means Bougherra would miss the showdown with Celtic on 3rd January even though the player himself has pleaded to be allowed to stay for the game before linking up with his national team.
Smith is now waiting to see if Algeria will give Bougherra special dispensation to join up later than the rest of the squad.
"I think the international teams' problem is if they let one stay then they have to let quite a number of them stay to play," said Smith.
"We're still waiting the resolution of that but he has asked if he can stay until after the Old Firm game on 3rd January.
"So far, he has not been given permission to do so."
Smith added: "The Algerians have quite a few players playing (for clubs) in Britain and they're all going to be playing at that time.
"They've all asked if they can stay and play for their clubs, so we just have to wait and see what happens there."
Rangers could be without Bougherra until February if Algeria reach the final of the African Cup of Nations and Smith accepts they will have cope with the loss of their star defender.
"If they reach the final, they're not back until the 3rd or 4th of February," observed Smith.
"It's a long spell away but when you sign an African player then you know that every couple of couple years you're going to have that loss.
"We just have to try to accommodate the loss of the player."