Walter Smith, OBE is the current manager of The Rangers, and is in his second stint with the club as manager. He was born on the 24th February 1948, in Lanark. Smith won seven of the nine league titles Rangers recorded in a row, and was assistant manager for the other two. He is the second most successful manager in Rangers prestigious history, second only to the great Bill Struth.
Aside managing Rangers, Smith has also managed Everton and Scotland. His playing career consisted of playing in the tangerine of Dundee United, with the exception of a stint at Dumbarton.
Walter is renowned for being very dignified in defeat and to the media although you don't want to get on his bad side as Chic Young will tell you no doubt. There probably isn't a man better than Walter Smith to lead Rangers out of this period and the results he's earned since coming back have been pretty sensational. Some see him as a manager stuck in his ways that doesn't play youth and a boring brand of football whilst others realise it's an effective way of winning. Whether he will be here for the start of next season is cause for debate but we could do far, far worse than renew his contract.
His record in Old Firm games is legendary and a record that is only surpassed by Willie Malley of Celtic and the late, great Bill Struth. The win on 24th October 2010 took him onto 27 wins and passed Jock Stein and Scot Symon. Only once has he lost back to back games against them and that was in the 2007/08 season where Celtic deliberately postponed the new year match against us, citing Phil O'Donnell's death as a perfectly valid reason for the cancellation. We were on a roll at the time and they had a few injures (including a suspended Aiden McGeady) but this meant the first two Old Firm games were played at Ibrox. We won them both and had consecutive games at Parkhead where we lost the first one in the last minute and the second one controversially.
Record against Celtic:
First Spell As Manager
When Smith was invited to become assistant manager at Rangers by Graeme Souness, in 1986, he jumped at the chance to be involved with the club he loved. The combination of Smith and Souness was lethal, and when Souness left to manage Liverpool in 1991, Smith was appointed manager.
He oversaw seven of the nine-in-a-row titles as manager, aswell as a treble in 1992/93. This was the most successful period in Rangers history. However, he left in 1998 after Rangers failed to get ten-in-a-row, believing it was time for a change.
Scottish National Team
Walter Smith was appointed Scotland manager on December 2nd, 2004. He succeeded the disaster that was Berti Vogts. Results under him changed in an instant. Although his first match in charge resulted in a 2-0 defeat away to Italy, he almost qualified from group 5 despite being in a seemingly impossible position because of Berti Vogt's poor management. They stood a chance after defeating Norway 2-1 in Oslo but suffered a shock defeat at home to Belarus soon after. He then planned Scotland's path to Austria and Switzerland but their hopes took a blow before the group stage had even started. They were drawn with France, Italy and Ukraine. The campaign started off with a 6-0 thrashing of Faroe Islands at Parkhead before heading to Lithuania and coming home with a 2-1 away win. The pinnacle of his Scotland career was undoubtedly beating France 1-0 at Hampden. With the French vastly superior in almost every department, Gary Caldwell slide tackled the ball home from a Paul Hartley corner midway through the second half. That proved to be his last match as Scotland coach before heading to the club he supported as a kid, Rangers. The Scotland team was in a far better position and during his tenure they shot up an incredible 70 places (from 83 to a highly respectable 13) in the FIFA World Rankings.
Second Spell As Manager
Smith returned to manage Rangers on 10 January 2007, leaving his post as Scotland manager to manage the Rangers once again. He took over the shambles he inherited from Paul Le Guen, and transformed it into a solid unit of players. His first game back in charge was a 5-0 win over Dundee United, however, Rangers finished that season trophyless.
The following season Smith brought Rangers to their first European final in 36 years, and chased the fabled 'quadruple' up until the last few weeks of the season. Rangers finished that season with the Scottish Cup and the League Cup, and with supporters eager for a League title. 2008/09 saw Rangers start with an embarrassing European exit to FBK Kaunas, and things looked grim for the season ahead. This proved to be not the case, as Smith won the League Championship and Scottish Cup double, making up in some ways for the humiliation of Kaunas.
2009/10 was a season where the whole squad were now Champions. We had the Champions League to look forward to but still had no money to bring in any new players, such as the financial position at the club. The Champions League campaign was a write off; losing 4 games and drawing 2. We went through our worst goalscoring run in 15 years when 3 consecutive draws gave Celtic the lead early on. We pulled it back a bit with Walter's excellent record against them and haven't really looked back since the loss against Aberdeen at the end of November. Walter gathered the squad around and basically told them to pull it together and play like Rangers players. It must have worked as we won all 6 games in December, scoring 26 goals. It was announced at the AGM that Walter, Ally and Kenny will work without a contract until the end of the season. The manager made some comments after reaching the 2010 League Cup final regarding the financial situation saying "it was only going to get worse in the summer". He also made similar comments after the 1-1 draw with Hibs, which show he's a frustrated man at not being able to bring in players for 3 consecutive transfer windows. Nonetheless, we won the league with games to spare and bought our first played for over 2 years when James Beattie signed. Then we signed Niko Jelavic for £4million, our most expensive signing since Mikel Arteta in 2002. Season 2010/11 has also seen Rangers record 9 wins in a row. That's not been done for almost 90 years.
He had the fattest backside in football at the time. - Walter Smith on Ally McCoist after he scored the winner in the '93 League Cup final.
I told McCoist that the chairman had never been late for work in his life, yet he was an hour late this morning. Walter Smith after Ally and Sir David shared a bottle of wine over contract talks.
Andreas Hinkel said in the papers the other day that Celtic are the better team, if he sits down and analyses what he said, then you have to ask: "Why does he think they are a better team than Rangers, when Rangers have won six trophies and reached a European Final during a period when Celtic have won just two trophies?" 'He must feel something is wrong. It might be that, if they had shown the same attitude as they did for the first half of this game tonight, they would be in a better position. He has to ask himself that question. As he sits down and says they are a better team, he should ask himself if he's proud of the way they have played over the last few seasons. Because I'm certainly proud of the way my team has played and my team has got something tangible to show for it. I can't understand why any professional doesn't take a good look at himself first before saying they are the better team. It is patently obvious that they are not. It might be as simple as their approach and attitude to the game, which Neil Lennon is now bringing out of them. If it takes a manager to bring it out of you, then you are looking at a poor set of professionals. - Walter after the 2-1 loss to Celtic on May 4th.
It doesn't take away from the fact that we have a problem, I think you need to be blind to think we don't have a problem that for a team of our standing we should not have, and my concern is that that will continue. But everything will not be all right at the end of the season. It will only get worse. We are delighted to be in the final, but anybody who thinks it is going to get better in the summer is deluding themselves. My concerns for Rangers for the long term – not even in the long term, for the end of the season – are genuine concerns as being a supporter as much as being a manager. - Walter Smith after making the 2010 League Cup final.