Smith: Diouf can handle flak

01 February 2011 02:00

Walter Smith believes El-Hadji Diouf will handle the stick he is bound to take from opposing fans following his move to Rangers.

The former Senegal international, who signed on loan from Blackburn until the end of the season on Monday night, has been involved in several controversial incidents throughout his career, including spitting at a Celtic fan at Parkhead while playing for Liverpool in 2003.

But Smith said: "The baiting of players is part and parcel of football and that is not going to go away. He is an experienced player. He has had it before and I'm sure he will manage to handle it."

More recently, Diouf was called a "sewer rat" by QPR boss Neil Warnock, who was angry at the former Anfield striker's reaction to Jamie Mackie after the Scotland player had broken his leg in two places during an FA Cup game at Ewood Park.

Diouf could make his Clydesdale Bank Premier League debut against Hearts at Ibrox on Wednesday night before what is sure to be a tension-filled reunion with Celtic fans on Sunday when the Hoops visit Ibrox on Scottish Cup duty.

Smith added: "I don't think it will be anything other than a normal Rangers versus Celtic game. Whoever is involved does not really affect that game any more or any less than usual.

"He comes with a reputation that maybe even the player himself would want to tidy up a little bit, but that is the case with a fair number of players.

"I've had footballers before who have had a reputation who have played very well and handled the situation very well.

"We just have to handle that and so will he, and I'm sure he will."

Source: PA

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