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Football: TEARIO DADO; Prso breaks down as Gers stars give him an emotional send-off.

Byline: By Keith Jackson

RANGERS hero Dado Prso broke down in tears yesterday after taking his final bow at Ibrox.

The Croatian talisman appeared to say farewell to supporters at the end of Rangers' 1-0 defeat at home to Kilmarnock - a result secured by a strike from Steven Naismith, who could yet be recruited to fill Prso's boots in the summer.

Keeper Stefan Klos and midfield man Gavin Rae - both of whom will also quit the club at the end of the season - accompanied Prso as he said his tear-jerking goodbyes.

And Prso, who was afforded a guard of honour by the first-team players on his way up the tunnel, then broke down as he faced the media and said: "It's hard for me to speak right now. I have a lot of memories to take with me but I'm so disappointed I couldn't play in this game.

"On Friday I stretched my ankle ligaments and this is just typical of the season I have had - another difficult moment.

"It's too hard for me to talk about it, this ankle injury is the latest disappointment for me.

"The whole season has been like this, there has always been something giving me problems. I had tonsilitis for the Celtic game and now I have damaged my ankle ligaments and missed my final chance to play at Ibrox.

"It's so difficult for me but you must be true with everyone and for me it was time to say goodbye.

"I will always remember my time here, especially my first year when we won the championship on the last day of the season.

"That November we beat Celtic twice and that will always be a special memory.

"The club is in my heart. When you have all these people behind you it's impossible not to feel it.

"Perhaps you have to be a player to understand how it feels but I am confident that the club will have a bright future with Walter Smith in charge.

"He is the right man for the job and Rangers can have a great season next year."

Prso's farewell was spoiled by Kilmarnock who inflicted a domestic defeat upon Smith for the first time since he took charge of the Ibrox club in January.

And it was possible summer signing target Naismith who stole the show with his winner after 52 minutes.

The victory secured fifth place for Kilmarnock and boss Jim Jefferies admitted afterwards that he faces a fight to keep hold of his highly-rated striker this summer.

Jefferies said: "We had a lot of outstanding performers today and Naismith was one of them.

"It was an unstoppable finish from him, fitting to win any game.

"If I'm honest I'd find it strange if we didn't get enquires about him this summer.

"But as he has said himself, if he had to stay it wouldn't be the worst thing in the world for him.

"He enjoys his football and another year at Rugby Park would be great for him.

"I'm going away on holiday and I'll be switching my phone off because I don't want to lose him - he can be the difference between winning games or not and you saw that once again."

Rangers boss Smith refused to be drawn when asked if he would be one of the managers enquiring about Naismith in the coming weeks.

Smith said: "We are looking for a number of players and we will try to bring a few in.

"I keep saying it - in fact, I'm getting bored of it now.

"Whether Steven Naismith is one of those players - well, you are free to speculate."

Smith, though, admitted his side deserved to crash to defeat in their final home game of the season.

He said: "I'm very disappointed by the performance and we didn't deserve any better than we got.

"Last week Gordon Strachan said Celtic played 'testimonial football' against us and that's what we played today.

"It was obviously an emotional end to the day for Dado and Stefan - they've both been good servants for the club. They are both popular players in the dressing room and on the terraces.

"It's always disappointing to see players like that leave, especially through injury as is the case with Dado.

"I'm disappointed that he's had to retire. He's been excellent for the club and he's going to be difficult to replace.

"But life goes on - we are not the first football club to lose a player."

CAPTION(S):

BE SEEING BLUE: Klos, Rae and Prso say goodbye to Ibrox
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Title Annotation:Sport
Publication:Daily Record (Glasgow, Scotland)
Date:May 14, 2007
Words:760
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