Smith holds Jelavic hope

Gers boss admits Croatian striker could return ahead of schedule

Jelavic: Smith hopeful

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Rangers boss Walter Smith is hoping Nikica Jelavic will be back in contention for the busy festive period.

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The Croatian is currently nursing ankle ligament damage and was expected to be sidelined until January.

He has been out of action since October, just when he was starting to settle in Scotland following a £4million move from Rapid Vienna.

His early promise has whetted the appetite of the Ibrox faithful and Smith hopes he will be able to unleash the 25-year-old ahead of schedule.

He told Blues News: "He had the operation on the ankle ligaments in Croatia and has been doing the rehabilitation with the specialist who did the operation.

"They are pleased with everything that's happening and he's working extremely hard.

"We had been hopeful of getting him back by the start of January and they are optimistic it might be a couple of weeks earlier than that, but we will just have to wait and see."

Problem

Meanwhile, Smith has also revealed that on-loan winger Vladimir Weiss is still being troubled by a niggling heel problem.

The Slovakia international was able to play just 45 minutes of Rangers' 3-1 win at St Mirren on Sunday before being forced off and Smith admits he is keen to get to the bottom of the issue.

He said: "He's got a little bit of a heel problem at the moment. He trained on Saturday and felt it was okay.

"He's suffering a little bit from it so hopefully in the next couple of games we can get it cleared up and he can get back to normal.

"I think it's causing him a little bit of a problem just now."