Rangers hit by more injury misery

Rangers were hit by another double injury blow on Thursday as Stevie Smith and Kyle Lafferty joining the growing queue for the Ibrox treatment table

Smith has been ruled out for four to six weeks with an ankle injury suffered in training as he tried to return from the pelvic problems that sidelined the defender for the whole of 2007.

Lafferty, a recent signing from Burnley, missed Rangers' 3-1 friendly win against Lotte in Germany on Wednesday night with a back injury also sustained in training. The Northern Ireland striker will miss the first leg of the UEFA Champions League qualifier on 30 July.

Rangers and Scotland captain Barry Ferguson is already out for four months while he recovers from an operation on a troublesome ankle, while DaMarcus Beasley is sidelined for three weeks with a hamstring injury picked up in a 1-0 friendly win against German side SC Preussen on Sunday.

Ibrox boss Walter Smith admitted the latest injuries were a major frustration as he tries to prepare for the new season. "It's another blow for Stevie Smith who has not had his troubles to seek in recent times but we wish him a speedy recovery," he told Rangers World.

"The Lafferty one is frustrating because when you sign a new player you want to bed him into the team quickly but he is at least another week away. I would have to say that he won't be available to us for the Champions League qualifier on July 30."