Walter Smith admits he would let frustrated goalkeeper Neil Alexander leave Rangers if the timing is right.
Alexander, 31, has hinted he may exit Ibrox to get regular football elsewhere after playing second fiddle to Allan McGregor during his entire two-year career with Gers.
The keeper made his first SPL appearance of the season in Saturday's 3-0 win over St Johnstone after McGregor suffered a hamstring injury.
He will also start Tuesday's trip to Dundee United, but is resigned to losing his place once his rival is fit.
While Alexander has made no secret of his love for the Glasgow giants, he feels he is at the stage of his career where he needs to be playing first-team football and Gers boss Smith can understand his frustration.
"It's natural, footballers want to play football," said Smith.
"Especially in the goalkeeping position, you don't get that many opportunities."
The Gers boss said he would not stand in Alexander's way if he wanted to leave.
"If he does come and say to me that he would like to go somewhere else and play, then obviously if the time's right and the opportunity's there then we have to let him do so," said Smith.
Alexander is now one of a growing number of players to have been linked with a January move from the club.
And Smith joked: "He's probably joined the long list of our players who are all leaving in January.
"It's impossible for us to win a league championship with the amount of them who are leaving in that transfer window.
"I think it was eight this morning."
The Gers boss admitted it has been awkward repeatedly leaving out Alexander, despite the keeper not having put a foot wrong.
"As a manager, you stand or fall by those decisions," he said. "But it is awkward, considering that he's a terrific professional.
"He's not let the disappointment prevent him applying himself to the game. He's been excellent for us when he's come in and played."