Walter Smith: Rangers commission statue of legendary manager on first anniversary of his passing

Rangers have commissioned a statue of legendary manager Walter Smith on the first anniversary of his passing.

Former Rangers, Everton and Scotland boss Smith died at the age of 73 on October 26 last year.

In two spells as Rangers manager Smith led the club to 10 top-flight titles, five Scottish Cups and six League Cups as well as to the UEFA Cup final in 2008. He remains the club’s second most successful manager after Bill Struth.

Smith’s achievements will be commemorated by the club with a statue at the Copland Road end of Ibrox.

A club statement read: “On the first anniversary of his passing, Rangers Football Club are today pleased to announce a statue of legendary manager Walter Smith has been commissioned to commemorate his incredible achievements at the club.

“In the modern era, nobody contributed more to Rangers than Walter. He served as assistant manager, manager, and chairman.

“A boyhood supporter who more than lived the dream, future generations will be met with this new sculpture at the famed Copland Road end of Ibrox Stadium.”


Player, manager, chairman

The Lanark-born defender’s playing career saw him play for Dundee United in two spells either side of two seasons at Dumbarton, and it was during his second spell at Tannadice that a pelvic injury meant Smith made his first forays into coaching under Jim McLean.

Smith became coach of the Scotland under-18s in 1978 and the under-21s in 1982. He was also Alex Ferguson’s assistant at the 1986 World Cup in Mexico before becoming assistant to Graeme Souness at Rangers later that summer.

With Souness operating as a player-manager at Ibrox, Smith was the senior coaching presence on the touchline and was given the job on a full-time basis when Souness moved to manage Liverpool in 1991.

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Smith continued Rangers’ domination at home and in Europe, taking the club to six Scottish top-flight titles and a domestic treble in 1992-93, the season in which the club narrowly missed out on a place in the Champions League final after finishing as runners-up in the group which was won by eventual winners Marseille.

Rangers equalled Celtic’s record of nine successive championships in 1996-97 but a poor European start to the following campaign saw Smith confirm he would leave the club at the end of the campaign to join Everton.

His time at Goodison Park however, was not a success and he was sacked in March 2002 before a brief spell as Ferguson’s assistant at Manchester United at the end of the 2003-04 season.

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Walter Smith’s managerial career spanned more than 20 years as he led Rangers, Everton and Scotland. Warning: this video contains flash photography

Berti Vogts departure from the Scotland national side paved the way for Smith to become manager in December 2004. Despite overseeing a rise for Scotland of 70 places in the international rankings, they failed to reach the World Cup Finals in 2006 after a home defeat to Belarus.

Smith returned to Rangers for a second spell in January 2007 and was able to replicate the glory of his first spell, leading the club to three more league titles, two Scottish Cups, three Scottish League Cups and a UEFA Cup final, which they lost 2-0 to Zenit Saint Petersburg.

He had a three-month spell as Ibrox chairman in 2013 but resigned the position after infighting within the boardroom.

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Former Rangers, Everton and Scotland boss Walter Smith died at the age of 73 last October

Smith’s defining games at Rangers

He won 21 major honours across two spells in charge of Rangers. Here, we take a look at some of the classic games where Smith’s managerial expertise came shining through for the Glasgow club.

Rangers 2-0 Aberdeen – Scottish Premier Division (April 30, 1991)

11/05/91.RANGERS V ABERDEEN (2-0).IBROX - GLASGOW.Rangers' Mark Hateley (left) and manager Walter Smith celebrate winning the Scottish Premier League with the trophy

Smith had only been promoted to the top job a month earlier after Graeme Souness’ departure to Liverpool but he got his managerial reign off to a triumphant start as his patched-up side battled past the Dons to claim the club’s third straight title thanks to Mark Hateley’s double.

Leeds 1-2 Rangers – Champions League (November 4, 1992)

21/10/92 EUROPEAN CUP 2ND RND 1ST LEG.RANGERS v LEEDS UTD.IBROX - GLASGOW.Ally McCoist (9) Mark Hateley (10) and Ian Durrant (11) celebrate after Leeds goalkeeper John Lucic punched the ball into his own net to make it 1-1.

Rangers were written off as no-hopers by the dismissive English press but it was the Scottish champions who emerged victorious from this battle of Britain, with goals from Hateley and Ally McCoist at Elland Road repeating their Ibrox win a fortnight earlier.

Smith’s men would come within 90 minutes of reaching the final after going unbeaten through the group stage.

Rangers 5-1 Hearts – Scottish Cup final (May 18, 1996)

18/05/96 TENNENT'S SCOTTISH CUP FINAL.RANGERS V HEARTS (5-1).HAMPDEN - GLASGOW.Rangers manager Walter Smith (right) and assistant Archie Knox celebrate with the Scottish Cup.

A display of sheer dominance by Smith’s star-studded line-up which boasted both Brian Laudrup and Paul Gascoigne.

Gordon Durie hit a Hampden hat-trick but it was Gers’ dazzling Dane who stole the show in what will forever be remembered as the Laudrup final as the playmaker grabbed a brace and three assists.

Celtic 0-1 Rangers – Scottish Premier Division (March 16, 1997)

1997 huddle rangers

Once again Smith was forced to make do and mend as his injury-ravaged side made their way to Celtic Park.

Goalkeeper Andy Dibble was drafted in at short notice and Hateley brought back from QPR having departed the previous summer.

The striker did enough to rough up the Hoops defence before being sent off as Laudrup’s winner put Gers on the verge of a ninth title in a row.

Fiorentina 0-0 Rangers (2-4 on penalties) – UEFA Cup semi-final (May 1, 2008)

01/05/08 UEFA CUP SEMI-FINAL 2ND LEG.FIORENTINA v RANGERS (0-0 AET, 0-0 AGG, 2-4 pens).FLORENCE - ITALY.Rangers players celebrate with the travelling fans after sealing their place in the Uefa Cup Final, and the club's history

Smith’s first spell in charge of Rangers was built on assembling the best team money could buy – but his second was about organising a series of bargain buys into a rigid unit who could grind their way to victory.

That is exactly how this clash in Florence played out as defenders Carlos Cuellar and David Weir stood firm in the face of a Tuscan bombardment before Nacho Novo’s winning spot-kick sent Gers and 200,000 jubilant supporters on their way to Manchester.

Celtic 2-4 Rangers – Scottish Premier League (August 31, 2008)

31/08/08 CLYDESDALE BANK PREMIER LEAGUE.CELTIC v RANGERS.CELTIC PARK - GLASGOW .rangers' Pedro Mendes goal cele with kenny miller (right)

Kenny Miller’s Rangers return did not exactly go down well universally with the Ibrox faithful following his brief defection to Celtic.

However, Smith had full belief the Scotland hitman would win over his doubters and so it proved as Miller grabbed a double on his Parkhead return, with Pedro Mendes also announcing himself to the Light Blues support with a sensational Old Firm pile-driver.

St Mirren 0-1 Rangers – Scottish League Cup final (March 21, 2010)

21/03/10 CO-OPERATIVE INSURANCE CUP FINAL.ST MIRREN v RANGERS (0-1).HAMPDEN - GLASGOW.Rangers manager Walter Smith celebrates winning the Co-operative Insurance Cup

As part of Rangers’ succession planning, Smith took a back seat when it came to domestic cup competitions as assistant boss McCoist was given a shot at leading from the front.

But when Gers found themselves down to nine men after Kevin Thomson and Danny Wilson were both sent off, Smith darted to the touchline to take command, re-organising his team before Miller’s smash-and-grab winner stole the cup.

Kilmarnock 1-5 Rangers – Scottish Premier League (May 15, 2011)

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Watch as Walter Smith’s Rangers won at Kilmarnock to clinch a the top-flight title for a third consecutive time

Smith was looking to bow out on a high before retiring from management as he side went in search of their third straight title at Rugby Park.

It was all set for a nervy final day shoot-out with the Ibrox men just a point ahead of Celtic but Smith need not have worried as three goals inside the first sensational seven minutes ensured he got the perfect send-off.


Title: Walter Smith: Rangers commission statue of legendary manager on first anniversary of his passing
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Published Date: Wed, 26 Oct 2022 10:42:00 BST