Walter Smith, who died at the age of 73, is a Scottish football legend and was the mastermind of ten league titles for the Rangers in two stints at the club.
Smith also managed Scotland and Everton in a career that also included a stint as Sir Alex Ferguson’s assistant at Manchester United.
Sportsmail pays tribute to the legendary coach in his own words in which he talks about some of the defining moments of his life in football.
Legendary Rangers coach Walter Smith died at the age of 73
IN … THE BEST MOMENT OF HIS CAREER
“ Being a lifelong Rangers fan and with my family all supporters becoming the club manager for the first time was the best moment of my career.
After that, of course, it came to winning nine games in a row and leading the club to the UEFA Cup final, which is a great memory, while becoming Scotland’s manager was also a very proud moment.
But becoming a Rangers coach was a big step for me, as it was the first time that I was a coach in my own right at the club that I had always supported.
Smith (pictured with his assistant GM Archie Knox) went from assistant manager to Rangers in 1991 replacing Graeme Souness
After a stint at Everton and as Scotland’s boss, Smith returned to the Rangers in January 2007.
At the time, Graeme (Souness) had asked me to be his assistant at Liverpool, but as soon as David Murray offered me the job at Rangers I knew I had to take it.
“David could easily have opted for a much more experienced coach, but he put his faith in me and we enjoyed a lot of success during the ’90s and when he brought me back to the club in early 2007.”
IN… HIS BEST SIGNATURE
“ I have been asked several times in interviews to name the player that I felt was my best signing as a Rangers coach, but it is a difficult question to answer because many of the players I brought to Ibrox enjoyed such a high level of success. in the club.
‘However, if you were to ask me for my best pound-for-pound signing that’s a little easier because it would have to be Davie Weir who came to us for nothing, we didn’t even pay a pound for him!
“At the beginning of my second stint as a coach in January 2007, the first thing I wanted to do was bring in an experienced figure on defense and, looking back, I couldn’t have gone for anyone better than Davie.
David Weir and Smith following their 2008 UEFA Cup final loss to Zenit St Petersburg
Smith said former Rangers captain Weir was the best signing of his coaching career.
“Initially he only signed for six months because he was 36 years old, but we ended up offering him another year and then another year.
‘It kept up like this and, apart from his salary, it cost us nothing. In his five years at Ibrox he stood out both for his performance on the field and for his behavior off it.
“In terms of pound-for-pound transfers, the Rangers have made you fight to beat Davie and that’s because of his desire to be successful at the club.”
IN… LEAVING THE RANGERS AFTER WINNING THE TITLE IN 2011
‘There will be regret, but I still think it’s the right thing to do.
‘It’s the right thing to do for me and it’s the right thing to do for the Rangers now that they have a new owner and a new manager. It’s the right thing to do.
‘The guys who have been working with me, Ally McCoist, Kenny McDowell and Ian Durrant, have been patiently waiting for the opportunity to take over.
I think they thought they would possibly get it a little earlier, but they haven’t and they’ve been fantastic to me. That was part of my decision and it was the right one. ‘
Smith holding the Scottish Premier League trophy with Weir in 2011 before leaving work after the season.
IN … POSSIBLY COMING OUT OF RETIREMENT TO MANAGE SCOTLAND IN 2018
‘No, I am categorically finished, finished. That was the only one I would have considered.
“First of all, I’d like to clarify that they didn’t really ask me to take the job. They asked me if I would come out of retirement and in the end I decided not to bother myself, as you know.
That meant Alex (McLeish) got the job and maybe he should have had the job in the first place anyway because he has his career credentials in charge last time.
‘I wasn’t looking for the time for a job. They asked me if it was a job I would consider doing. But I never got to the stage where I sat and talked to them (SFA) more about it. After two or three days of media coverage, to be honest, I was upset. ‘
Smith was appointed Scotland coach in December 2004 and remained until January 2007
Smith turned down the prospect of coaching Scotland again in 2018 before Alex McLeish took over.
ABOUT… STEVEN GERRARD
“The only thing that could be said about Steven from the beginning is that he adapts to a big club environment.
‘I always hate using the word’ easy ‘in relation to Rangers management. Is not. But sometimes it made it look like he had been doing the job for a few years.
“Everybody talks about Scottish football and that it is not at the level of England. And you’d have to be crazy to say it is. But there is a proportional aspect to football. And running Rangers and Celtic is the same in Scotland as running Liverpool or Manchester United or Manchester City in England.
Steven Gerrard became the first coach since Smith to lead the Rangers to the title this year after a turbulent decade for the club.
“He has the same approach and the same problems. English clubs have a lot more funding and that helps, but Rangers are not only the perfect base for someone to come in and learn.
“It is also a very difficult and challenging environment for someone to come in and learn.”