Former Rangers and Scotland manager Walter Smith dies at 73

Smith was Rangers’ second most successful manager in terms of number of trophies won

Walter Smith has died aged 73. Photograph:  Craig Williamson/Getty Images

Walter Smith has died aged 73. Photograph: Craig Williamson/Getty Images

 

The former Scotland, Rangers and Everton manager Walter Smith has died aged 73. Smith won 13 trophies during his first spell at Rangers from 1991-98 and another eight after he returned in 2007.

Smith stepped up from assistant manager when Graeme Souness left for Liverpool in April 1991 and he delivered the final seven of Rangers’ record-equalling nine league titles in a row. He also came within one game of the 1993 Champions League final when the places were decided by a group stage rather than semi-finals.

Smith joined Everton in the summer of 1998 but his almost four years there were unremarkable, with the club unable to break into the top half of the Premier League or progress beyond cup quarter-finals.

After a brief spell as Sir Alex Ferguson’s assistant at Manchester United in 2004, he was appointed as Scotland manager. Despite improving the team, he failed to reach the 2006 World Cup and was part-way through the Euro 2008 qualifiers when he accepted an offer to go back to Rangers.

There he not only enjoyed further domestic success but reached the 2008 Uefa Cup final, losing 2-0 to Zenit St Petersburg. Smith retired in 2011 as the club’s second-most successful manager behind Bill Struth in terms of trophies. He briefly returned to Ibrox as a director and chairman.

Rangers said last March that Smith was in hospital after an operation. The club’s chairman, Douglas Park, said on Tuesday: “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.

“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.”

A defender in his playing career, Smith had two spells with Dundee United and a short stint at Dumbarton in between. After assisting Jim McLean at Dundee United his managerial career began in 1978 with the Scotland Under-18 team, before he took charge of the Under-21s. - Guardian

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