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Murray will take a risk and block Mendes sale; Clydesdale Bank PREMIER LEAGUE SPL LATEST...

Byline: Murdo MacLeod

THEY say the time for taking any kind of financial gamble is over - especially when you have no money to begin with.

So it would make perfect sense for Rangers to accept pounds 4million from Bolton for Pedro Mendes, a move which would appease the bank but anger their fans.

The Ibrox club are skint. Sir David Murray has admitted they needed to sell at least one high-profile player in January.

Then someone comes in with a lot of money for an "untouchable" and it turns out he might be very touchable.

Except I don't think they'll do it. I honestly believe that when this awful transfer window slams shut at 5 pm today, Mendes will still be a Rangers player.

As will Barry Ferguson, Kris Boyd and Allan McGregor.

I know what the chairman said about one player having to go but in football things can change very quickly, especially when a few results go your way.

If Walter Smith can win at Celtic Park in a fortnight then he's back on top of the SPL.

The gap is now back to two points and surely even the Rangers fans who had their team finishing fourth, never mind being unable to win the league, must believe the dream is back on.

Celtic's inability to win at Inverness against a side that had lost eight in a row, showed clearly their failings.

Rangers got a great win against Dundee United with a bit of steel that was missing not so long ago.

Celtic might be top but they are hardly going to run away with anything, just as I said in these very pages 24 hours after they had gone seven points clear at the top following the last Old Firm game.

So I believe Murray will take a deep breath, make a phone call to the bank and tell them that nobody is going for the moment.

Instead, he will give Smith and Ally McCoist every chance to win the SPL and make the Champions League.

To get pounds 4m in now is a great short-term fix but the Champions League brings in far more money and that is the bigger picture being looked at.

Besides, Rangers could always sell Mendes and one or two others in the summer.

I won't even hypothetically discuss how Rangers fans would react if Mendes is sold. I'm so confident it won't happen.

I'm also not too sure that Steven Fletcher is going to be paraded at Celtic Park any time soon.

Hibs want pounds 4m for a player I like and think has a chance. But there is no way he's worth that amount of money in this current market.

Rod Petrie, the Hibs chief executive, is in a good position.

Hibs don't have to sell a player who is on a long-term contract. Plus the fact Rob Jones is awaymeans that he won't want to lose another hero right now.

I have a feeling Fletcher will be a Hibee until the summer at least.

Celtic could do with a new face as yesterday's match showed.

When Scott McDonald isn't scoring, nobody else is really up for taking over - not away from home at any rate.

Every game I have watched in Inverness is the same. It's scrappy with hardly any football being played. They are never classics.

Celtic could do with more firepower and I'm sure Fletcher would add something and has potential to become a top player.

But I wouldn't spent more than pounds 2m on him.

I must say that I feel sorry for Hibs fans. They keep seeing their best players sold but no real money spent on replacement.

They will realise that they are a selling club but fans are only interested in what happens on the park, not about the health of the bank balance.

That's why a certain chairman at Ibrox may, in the interests of winning some faith with his own fans, may just be about to say no to a very nice financial offer.

As told to Neil Cameron
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Title Annotation:Sport
Publication:Daily Record (Glasgow, Scotland)
Date:Feb 2, 2009
Words:679
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