Walter Smith: Former Rangers and Everton manager dies age 73

Smith achieved legendary status at Ibrox, winning 21 trophies in two spells

Former Rangers, Everton and Scotland manager Walter Smith has died age 73.

Smith achieved legendary status at Ibrox, winning 21 trophies in two spells making him the second most successful Rangers boss ever behind Bill Struth.

Rangers chairman Douglas Park commented: "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. 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."

Rangers confirmed in March that Smith was recovering in hospital following an operation.

And his passing comes 10 months after Jim McLean, whom he assisted over a long spell at Dundee United, died at 83.

"Walter leaves behind a wife, children and grandchildren, all of whom are in our thoughts and prayers at this difficult time," added Park.

Rangers asked for the Smith family's privacy to be respected.

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

Smith stepped up from assistant manager when Graeme Souness left Rangers for Liverpool in April 1991 and won the final seven of Rangers’ record-equalling nine league titles in a row.

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 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. He briefly returned to Ibrox as a director and chairman.

Updated: October 26th 2021, 10:16 AM
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