Walter Smith: Rangers legend and former Scotland manager has died aged 73

Rangers and Scottish football legend Walter Smith has died at the age of 73.

Tuesday, 26th October 2021, 12:09 pm
Rangers legend Walter Smith has died aged 73. Picture: SNS

The Ibrox club confirmed his passing with “profound sadness” as chairman Douglas Park celebrated his contribution to the club, calling him “more than just a football manager” but “a friend to many, a leader, an ambassador and most of all-a legend”.

He said: “On behalf of the Rangers board of directors, staff and players, I convey my deep condolences to the Smith family. Walter leaves behind a wife, children and grandchildren, all of whom are in our thoughts and prayers at this difficult time.

“It is almost impossible to encapsulate what Walter meant to every one of us at Rangers. He embodied everything that a Ranger should be. His character and leadership was second to none, and will live long in the memory of everyone he worked with during his two terms as first team manager.

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“I spoke with Walter as recently as last weekend. Even when he was battling illness, he was still able to provide advice and support. For that, I am personally grateful. I know that he continued also to maintain dialogue with senior members of staff, including our manager, Steven Gerrard.

“Walter will be sorely missed by all of us at Rangers.

“Winning 10 top-flight titles as manager, five Scottish Cups and six League Cups, as well as leading his club to the UEFA Cup Final in 2008, he will be remembered by the football community across the world. His spells as Scotland manager as well as managing in the English Premier League underlined his credentials as one of the great modern day football managers.

“However, for Rangers supporters, he was much more than just a football manager. Walter was a friend to many, a leader, an ambassador and most of all-a legend.”

Smith left an indelible mark in Scottish football beyond the Ibrox club who he guided to numerous trophies across two spells.

He also had two spells with Dundee United as a player before learning his coaching trade under Jim McLean.

Smith would go on to manage Scotland at youth levels and would assist Sir Alex Ferguson at the 1986 World Cup having already been appointed Graeme Souness’ right-hand man at Rangers.

He would take on the managerial role in 1991 until 1998, then again between 2007 and 2011, earning a win success rate of more than 63 per cent on both occasions.

Between the two stints as Rangers boss he managed Everton for nearly four years, assisted Ferguson at Manchester United before taking on the Scotland job and revitalising the nation after Berti Vogts’ reign.

He guided the country to Kirin Cup success in 2006 and was in charge when Scotland defeated France at Hampden Park during the qualifiers for Euro 2008.

He put in place strong foundations with the national team during his 16-game spell which allowed Alex McLeish to build on them as the country just missed out on reaching the tournament.

Smith was linked with a surprise return to the job in 2018.

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