Smith backs striking duo
Walter Smith feels Kenny Miller and Nikica Jelavic can form a deadly strike partnership at Rangers.
Last Updated: 20/09/10 10:57am
Walter Smith feels Kenny Miller and Nikica Jelavic can form a deadly strike partnership to fill the void left by Kris Boyd at Rangers.
Last season's top scorer Boyd departed Ibrox and headed south to Middlesbrough two months ago in a major blow to Smith's attacking force.
However, Miller in particular has wasted no time in filling Boyd's prolific boots, bagging eight goals in five SPL games for the champions, while £4million new-boy Jelavic has also shown potential.
Their competence up front was emphasised during Saturday's 4-0 thumping of Dundee United at Ibrox, with Miller notching a brace.
Smith feels the duo are more than capable of plugging the gap left by Boyd and helping the Gers defend their league title this campaign.
"Kris is an easy boy for people to praise or criticise. He is what he is. He was great for Rangers over the period he was here with his goals," Smith told the Daily Record.
"But Jelavic will be a different player altogether. It's like everything else in football - sometimes when you lose someone who scores a great number of goals you make up for it.
"If you look at last season Kris scored just one goal for us after Christmas. He was injured in January but only got one goal when he came back. We still went on to win the championship.
"Other players have stepped in - like Kenny has shown and there is more to come from our team.
"Remember, this is the first change to the squad we've had in two-and-a-half years. I'm hoping once everyone settles down we can show the benefit of it. I think Miller and Jelavic can form a good understanding."
Miller's Rangers team-mate Sasa Papac has hailed the 30-year-old striker's form this season, and is hoping the club move quickly to tie him down on a new contract.
"Kenny has been fantastic since we started back in pre-season and even with Boyd gone we still have someone who can get us 20 goals a season," said Papac.
"He can score at least that because he's in great form and is experienced. This might be his best season ever but he also did well last season.
"I hope we don't lose him in the January window because he's so important to us."