The striker admitted recently to being frustrated by his lack of first team action despite his heroics so far this season.

He came off the bench to great effect to bag a memorable goal in a pre-season friendly against Chelsea, before repeating the same trick at Inverness on the opening day of the Clydesdale Bank Premier League season.

Then came his last-minute winner over Red Star Belgrade in the first leg of their final Champions League qualifier on Tuesday night, which could prove to be priceless with a £10million jackpot at stake.

Smith knows Novo is desperate to shed his 'supersub' image but urged the player to be patient as he assesses the vast squad he assembled over the summer.

"He has always been in our reckoning," he said ahead of tomorrow's visit of Falkirk. "He has never been far away from our teams since I came here.

"He is an enthusiastic boy and his enthusiasm rubs off on everybody around him.

"He has played a part for us over the months we have been here and has played exceptionally well coming on as substitute in the last few games."

Smith assured Novo he does not see him merely as a useful tool to use against weary opponents in the dying minutes of games, adding: "He has started for us as well and has had that same enthusiasm.

"When he has come on, he has given us a really good performance but I don't think you can say someone is better as a substitute than as a player.

"It's just a set of circumstances. We have other players to see, newer players to have a look at and that's the reason he has been on the bench.

"With every game, you get a better idea. Hopefully we can make up our mind soon about what we are going to do and get our strongest team out.

"You have to be fair to everyone in the squad. We have got a far bigger squad than last year.

"As the season progresses, we have to be careful that we're not overplaying a number of them. If we want to have a squad, we have to make sure that we use it."

One player who has not been utilised at all in competitive action is Alan Gow, who arrived from Falkirk in the summer.

A debut against his former club tomorrow would be fitting but Smith admitted: "It's one of those situations where he hasn't really had an opportunity to come in yet.

"One of the reasons why it's awkward, a factor which has been covered this week, is the under-21 rule.

"When you have a big squad, it means quite a number of them have to miss out.

"I'm sure once things settle down, we will see a bit more of him."

The Rangers manager also claimed any more business before the transfer window closes at the end of the month is unlikely, barring any late departures.

"The group we have at the present moments looks like the group we will have for the first half of the season anyway," he said.

"We are in a position where we have the biggest group of players we have had at Rangers for a long time so it's not necessary for us to add to them at the present moment.

"If someone comes in and takes anyone away, we may have to replace them, but we haven't had an enquiries at the moment."