By Wayne Veysey

15th Apr, 2018 | 7:48am

Sky pundit: Big-name striker who offered to play for Rangers for free should be in XI v Celtic

By Richard Parks

Davie Provan has insisted that Steven Naismith should be starting for Rangers against Celtic in Sunday’s Scottish Cup semi-final against Celtic.

The Sky Sports pundit and former Hoops midfielder claimed that the ex-Ger offered to play for his former club for free in the January window before securing a loan move to Hearts.

The forward has scored three goals in the last five matches for the Tynecastle outfit, with his goal against Aberdeen last weekend helping Rangers in their pursuit of second place in the Scottish Premiership.

“Naismith’s offer to play for Rangers for nothing was rejected by diehard Bluenoses who won’t forgive him for tearing up his Ibrox contract,”  Provan told the Scottish Sun on Sunday.

“With Hearts idle this weekend, the 31-year-old will have his feet up. He should really be running out for Graeme Murty’s men at Hampden Park.”

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Naismith, 31, joined Norwich from Everton for £8.5million two years ago and has a contract with the English Championship club that runs until the summer of 2019.

Football Insider verdict:

How Graeme Murty would love to be able to call upon a striker of the pedigree of Naismith for today’s titanic Hampden showdown. Rangers fans with long memories might not fancy the forward, but his track record, including 33 goals and 30 assists in his first spell at the Glasgow giants, demands respect. He has shown at Hearts that the advancing years have not dulled his eye for goal or opportunistic instinct that made him such a difficult opponent throughout his career, including in the Premier League. Naismith would have been the free signing of he season had supporters allowed it.

In other Rangers news, Graeme Souness has revealed how Light Blues completed £250,000 new signing on private jet in Paris in the middle of the night.

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