Kris Boyd is a poacher with a persecution complex. Top scorer in Scottish football for two successive seasons, people still seem fascinated by the supposed missing aspects of his craft.

Boyd, who has amassed 46 goals since signing from Kilmarnock for £400,000, was one of a majority of Rangers players to have underperformed while still taking a significant step to the Champions League with a 2-0 win against FK Zeta. While other felons avoided the sharp end of the media pen, Boyd found himself the target of vitriolic criticism from no less a figure than Mark Hateley.

The gist of Hateley's newspaper column was: if Boyd doesn't score, he is a liability. Yesterday, after simmering quietly since Tuesday evening, Boyd hit back and, fittingly, did not miss the target.

"People can write and say what they want. Even if I am doing a job they still write the same stuff," he said wearily.

"I'm used to it. If I score goals they say I cannot do this or that and when I don't score goals then I don't bring anything to the team. I don't let it bother me.

"He Hateley said what he said.

I didn't read it but I was told what he said. I don't want to get involved in a slagging match; I just want to shut them up. You always come in for criticism. People think scoring is the easiest job in the world but it's far from it."

There is a rich irony attached to Hateley's comments. Firstly, he endured greater derision than even Filip Sebo in his first season at Rangers, his popularity hardly improved by the fact he kept the darling of Ibrox, Ally McCoist, out of the team until they joined forces post-Maurice Johnston.

There is the added intrigue that Hateley's old partner has been left to pick up the pieces in his role as assistant manager. "I had a conversation with Coisty about it and there is an agreement that when the chances dry up, then we have a problem and need to worry," said Boyd. "I'm looking forward to the new season to shut a few people up."

The striker may be looking ahead after his night of frustration against FK Zeta, but Boyd admitted he is refusing to consider the prospect of facing either Red Star Belgrade or Levadia Tallinn until Rangers have booked their place in the next round.

After yesterday's Champions League third round qualifying draw in Nyon, the striker added: "We need to get past Zeta first and, before we even think about that game, we've got tomorrow's game against Inverness."

Boyd is unrecognisable from the slightly podgy figure that ambled around during the height of the Paul Le Guen crisis. The striker has had a rude awakening under Walter Smith. His introverted nature can be misinterpreted as surliness but Boyd has heeded the warnings.

Physically, he again resembles a professional sportsman and insisted: "I have worked hard to get myself fit over the summer and, considering I only finished in the middle of June with Scotland, I have hardly had any time off," he said.

"I felt I had to sharpen up. New people are coming in and I wanted to improve.

I feel I have done that. I want to do the best I can to succeed for this club. I am in better shape and that will benefit me and the club. I feel good and if we are creating chances then I have no doubts I will score."

He will return to the scene of Rangers' biggest crimes last season, with Inverness having taken seven points from nine against them last term, and is keen to atone for that statistic.

"When you start dropping points it does play on your mind and teams can sense that too," he recalled. "We were losing too many goals but we put a stop to that. This is a new season, with a new team so we are raring to go together and make up for last season."