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Weir: Fixture pile-up no excuse

Veteran defender says Gers squad can cope

Last Updated: 23/04/08 6:21pm

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Weir: Ready for hectic schedule

Weir: Ready for hectic schedule

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David Weir insists Rangers are strong enough to meet a punishing fixture schedule head-on, starting with the visit of Fiorentina on Thursday night.

The Italians are all that stand between Walter Smith's men and next month's Uefa Cup final in Manchester following an impressive European campaign.

But further success in the tournament could come at a cost, with Rangers facing the prospect of playing four games in eight days should they earn the right to face Zenit St Petersburg or Bayern Munich on May 14.

The pursuit of a quartet of trophies is beginning to take its toll, with several key players unavailable for the visit of Fiorentina through injury or suspension.

But Weir insisted: "I don't think you will hear anyone from our side talking about fatigue or feeling fatigued.

"We are football players and we are paid to play football games. They are coming thick and fast but we are prepared to meet that challenge and get on with it.

No excuses

"No-one from our side of the fence is using that as an excuse or get-out clause."

Fixture plans revealed by the Scottish Premier League on Tuesday have proved unpopular with both sides of the Old Firm divide.

Although agreeing to a league extension if Rangers reach the Uefa Cup final, the Ibrox club face a gruelling end to the campaign either way.

"It's not an ideal scenario, there is no getting away from that," said Weir, who is likely to wear the captain's armband in the absence of suspended skipper Barry Ferguson on Thursday night.

"In an ideal world, it's one you would rather avoid but we don't make these decisions.

"We have to focus on the next game - which is tomorrow and is a massive game for us - and as soon as that one is finished we get ready for the next one.

"We are not the people who determine when the games are played or who we are playing against, we've just got to try to meet the challenges facing us and we have a big challenge facing us tomorrow."

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Fiorentina disposed of Everton in the last 16 following a tense penalty shoot-out and Weir has been given the low-down on the Serie A side from his former club-mates.

"I keep in touch with a few people there and they have told us that Fiorentina are a very good team," he said.

"The Everton lads felt they should have gone through; penalties are a horrible way to go out of any competition and they felt they had done enough in the second game.

"They also said how good a team Fiorentina are and we are well aware of that - at this stage of the competition, whoever you are playing are going to be a top, top team."

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