How do you solve a problem like Kris Boyd? Walter Smith has given up on that particular conundrum, and so, too, has the poacher himself. There is no middle ground to be had in the most intriguing relationship at Ibrox: Boyd will either leave in the summer, and begin a premature demise at 24, or stay and become a Rangers legend.

Smith will either build a team around him or build a team without him. Boyd has single-handedly won Rangers their two trophies, yet relies on the gimmickry of a moustache to stand out from the crowd. His goal ratio, a commendable two-in-three, is comparable to the great Ally McCoist, but even then an ambivalence is apparent.

As he hoisted the Scottish Cup on a lap of honour, Boyd's future quickly became the focus of attention. As the dust settles, the facts are these: he will not countenance another season of ignorance, yet he will not be made any more guarantees than a cog in the wheel. The one-dimensional front man will not suddenly sprout compelling facets to his game over the summer, nor is he likely to check into a health farm despite a laboured gait.

Take him or leave him is the dilemma Smith will consider as he plots a creative overhaul of his side. The manager wrestled with it publicly after the 3-2 win against Queen of the South. Sentences that appeared to condemn Boyd to a peripheral role were qualified by hopeful caveats.

"He is a conundrum, it's the way he is," said Smith. "He is an excellent scorer and has a lot of aspects of his play that are not up to the same level as his goalscoring. It is something he will always have. He has helped us win two cups this season and is always liable to get you a goal. I do not know his future.

I have not heard anything and I am quite happy to have him here."

It was a telling remark. While "quite happy" to retain Boyd, he was "hopeful" of keeping Steven Davis and Christian Dailly and adamant that "obviously, we want to keep" Carlos Cuellar.

Boyd, publicly at any rate, has changed in the three years since his move from Kilmarnock. His innocence has been lost and his amiable nature replaced by a sullen, taciturn personality and a persecution complex. He was very public on Le Guen's disregard for his lifestyle and professional commitment, but been respectfully silent despite Smith condemning him to prolonged stints among the substitutes.

"He has come down in weight in the past 15 months and I have no complaints about him there," said Smith on accusations of a less than wholehearted approach to fitness. "He is a good professional and does his work. There is no problem as far as I am concerned. Like every other player, he wants to play more regularly than he has done. He has finished up top scorer so, for me, I don't see a great deal of a problem from his point of view."

Trouble is, Boyd sees a great deal of problem and will not settle for another fitful year of first-team football. The key may be in Smith's summer signings. Kenny Miller is a certainty to join despite widespread consternation from the fans, more due to his less than impressive career statistics than his previous association with Celtic. If only Smith could fuse their contrasting qualities, he would have the all-round front man.

"Have we signed him?" asked Smith devilishly when the Miller question was put to him. "I thought the chairman had done it again. The manager's job is to sign them, the player's job is to play. I do not know what the problem is." No denial of interest there, then.

Indeed, Smith openly pondered what is required to maximise Boyd's effectiveness. "He can score goals, but sometimes you have to think about the overall strength of the team and that has been a factor with him this season," he said. "Everyone can look at the individual aspect but the manager has to look at the team aspect. The stronger the team gets overall, the more productive Kris Boyd will be.

"It is not always an easy combination, but we need to be stronger round about him when he plays.

He has never complained publicly. He has complained to me for not playing, but that's understandable. He can hold up his record and say, I can get you goals', but I have other considerations to think about."

Daniel Cousin is almost certainly for the off, while Jean-Claude Darcheville's susceptibility to injury makes him unreliable. Boyd, as an employee with a lengthy contract, may have no choice but to stick it out. Davis is expected to resume his career in England after an invigorating six months at Ibrox, while family commitments may prevent Dailly from extending his stay.

The search has already begun for fresh inspiration. "Obviously, I hope to add a little bit of extra quality in all areas of the field," said Smith. "We know we need a few players to enhance the squad overall."

The current incumbents will have four weeks to recuperate from a season of exceptional imposition.

"I just hope no other team in Scotland ever has to do that again, because it is not fair to ask that of any team," said Smith of the fixture pile-up. "We got on with it, but I hope the situation never occurs again. There is no way a team should be asked to play a cup final and be expected to entertain when they can hardly lift a leg."