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Nikica Jelavic's hopes of playing for Rangers in the Champions League depend on Aston Villa defeating Rapid Vienna on Thursday, it has been confirmed.

 

There had been confusion last week when Uefa indicated that Rangers' new signing could play no matter who won Villa's Europa League qualifier.

 

But Rangers say their initial fears had been realised and that Jelavic will miss out if his former club progress.

 

Manager Walter Smith said: "Hopefully Aston Villa can do us a favour."

 

Jelavic has already played for Rapid in Europa League qualifying this season and, if his former club beat Villa, they could face Rangers later in the tournament if the Ibrox outfit drop into it via their finishing position in the Champions League group stage.

 

There is more involved than just the Champions League, but that's a big part for any player

 

Smith had admitted it was one drawback of the Croatia international's �£4m transfer, which eventually went through on Friday.

 

"It's just something we have to put up with," said the Rangers boss.

 

"It would be a disappointment for him, I don't think there is any doubt about that.

 

"There is more involved than just the Champions League, but that's a big part for any player.

 

"Villa have got the away goal and hopefully they can get the win."

 

It was only after Jelavic refused to play for Rapid in Thursday's 1-1 draw with Villa that the Austrian club returned to the negotiating table.

 

After weeks of talks failed to reach a conclusion, they had wanted the 24-year-old to play against the English club.

 

Nothing comes easy with this guy.

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Villa will pump Vienna to get that Newcastle result out of their system

 

Hopefully

 

I remember last season when Rapid beat Villa at Villa Park.

 

FIngers crossed it doesn't happen again.

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