Walter Smith


In 1986, Walter Smith left his assistant role at Dundee United to take up the same job at his boyhood club, Rangers.  He later became manager, leading the club to six (and a half) of their nine-in-a-row league titles, though like a few other legends, he discovered 10 was out of reach.  He managed Everton, then Scotland, where he left to return to more success at Rangers, including reaching the 2008 Uefa Cup Final.

As an opponent, he was uncompromising, ruthless, even.  He managed to have a congenial nature and to be as hard as nails.  His first period in charge of Rangers saw an era of no contest.  Celtic finished second only twice during those nine seasons, Aberdeen, Motherwell and Hibs were often the nearest challengers, allowing Rangers space to prepare for Champions League football.

His second spell at Rangers concluded in 2011, having won three successive titles against different Celtic managers: Gordon Strachan, Tony Mowbray and Neil Lennon.  He retired the same month that Craig Whyte bought the club from David Murray for £1, with the emerging EBT scandal scattered like confetti over every inch of the Ibrox and Charlotte Square.

Smith was ill advised to get involved in the scrap for Newco a year later, where he was briefly chairman in 2013 before resigning after three months.

For all the battles, my abiding memory of Walter Smith happened days after that Uefa Cup Final in 2008, watching him carry the Tommy Burns’ coffin from St Mary’s, Calton.  Everything that had gone before seemed irrelevant.  Later on, a Celtic supporting journalist, who was moving on from Scottish football, told me he received a call with best wishes from Smith.  No one from Celtic did likewise.  What little we really know of the people we cheer and jeer.

73 is no age, may he rest in peace.

Click Here for Comments >

About Author

  1. Pages:
  2. 1
  3. 2
  4. 3
  5. 4
  6. 5

  1. “We wish the new Rangers Football Club every good fortune,” Walter Smith



    May he rest in peace.

  2. As someone mentioned earlier, we are can remember that moment when we saw the late Tommy Burns’ coffin emerging from St Mary’s and being carried by Walter Smith. It spoke highly of the regard that Walter had for a great Celt and of the friendship that they shared, especially in Tommy’s final days. Rest in peace Tommy and may you be reunited with Walter in the Eternal Paradise.



    Rest in peace Walter. Thoughts and condolences to your family and friends.

  3. Paul



    A fine tribute to a worthy opponent.



    As I said earlier, I am sure that we will afford him the respect he paid one of ours.

  4. TOM MCLAUGHLIN on 26TH OCTOBER 2021 12:32 PM



    I can still see him running along the touch line after their third goal (the Cadete disallowed equaliser game) in the 3-1 New Year game.



    That was one of my last visits there and I have to admit the use of unparliamentary language.



    Compared to some of what went before and afterwards, he was a dignified opponent.

  5. Walter gave me my best laugh in Scottish Football when he verbally slaughtered Chick Young in front of the TV cameras.



    “Haw Archie. Come and listen to this c**t.”




  6. SQUIRE DANAHER on 26TH OCTOBER 2021 12:36 PM



    I can still see him running along the touch line after their third goal (the Cadete disallowed equaliser game) in the 3-1 New Year game.



    SQUIRE, as I said on the last blog, he was heavily affected by ‘Rangersitis’, but that’s no bad thing for a Rangers man who was living the dream of managing his favourite club. I’m sure I read an interview with him, many a year ago, when he confessed to visiting Celtic Park regularly as a teenager during the Stein years to watch this new football being played. His ‘excuse’ was that Celtic were his local club, given that he lived his early years in the East End of Glasgow.



    CHAIRBHOY on 26TH OCTOBER 2021 12:06 PM



    We have great songs, no other Club comes close, the add ons rarely improve them.



    A good point CHAIRBHOY, about our great songs. On the day of the Seville game I was sitting in a school staffroom at lunch time when one of our music teachers came in with a tape (yeh … a cassette tape!!) full of Celtic/Spanish songs. Given the ‘type’ of school it was, for the next 30 minutes or so the staff sung-along heartily to the songs, including a couple of (non-Hun) blue-noses who magnanimously joined in. On the way out of the staffroom after lunch one of those guys said to me “I hate to admit it, but we couldn’t have a tape like that – we don’t have enough inoffensive songs to sing.”

  7. The Star above The Crest on

    Desperately sad news about Walter Smiths passing. My thoughts and condolences go to his family & friends.

  8. My thoughts today are with Hamilton Tim, today being the Birthday of his beloved wife Helen.


    God Bless you Helen, May you Rest in Eternal Peace.

  9. Great Piece Paul67,



    May Walter Smith R. I. P.






    Great story…



    That’s exactly my point. Trying to jig our songs to get down to their level when really they would hugely struggle to get close to us at our best.



    The equivalence thing is annoying but will carry on unless we raise the bar.



    In the official definition of sectarianism the Scottish Government use a few examples, one being St Patrick’s Day celebrations with The battle of the Boyne celebrations.



    It’s a total nonsense – St Patrick’s Day is celebrated in my home town in Bucks, I’ve yet to see the Battle of the Boyne being “celebrated”.



    We need to keep well away from sectarianism to ensure that our custom and traditions cannot be equated to Loyalist bigotry.



    It deserves better than that.



    Hail Hail

  10. HT


    It will be a tough day, Chris but I hope the support on here helps you in at least some small way.


    I have nothing but fond memories of the lovely Helen.



  11. Chairbhoy on 26th October 2021 1:59 pm



    Another great post. I had a big rangers supporting mate from a few years ago that I sadly never see now. He was always jealous of our song book and wished theirs was more like ours, he joined in on more than one occasion when drink had been taken.



    I never want to forget our history but we need to move forward and leave the huns in the dark ages where they belong.

  12. HOT SMOKED on 26TH OCTOBER 2021 1:17 PM



    It’s how I choose to remember him.



    De mortuis nihil nisi bonum.

  13. glendalystonsils on

    My view of Walter Smith the man , was always coloured by the ‘Rangers’ factor , although always respecting his undoubted ability as a manager .


    Thank goodness Sevco haven’t had a manager anywhere near his ability since.



    Including the present incumbent of course .

  14. Big Georges Fan Club - Hail, Hail, Wee Oscar on

    There are very few people – maybe only a handful in my experience – who pass away where my thoughts don’t immediately turn to their family, and thinking of their loss and how they will be grieving.



    I can only actually think of one at the moment – mentioned above by another poster – and I can’t say I’m overly proud of my immediate reaction in that case either.



    Walter Smith is not, in any way, included in that handful of people.



    Condolences to his family and loved ones.









  15. onenightinlisbon on




    Absolutely agree.



    Hun like behaviour…

  16. Park the bus > blootir it > simple on

    If your incapable of forgiveness, or your unable to love your enemy, then I don’t think that too many Tims will be going were they hope to go.


    I’m no expert but, if our saviour leaves us a path for us to follow, and we then cherry pick our way along that path, then who knows were we’ll end up.


    If you support a football club that claims to be “Open To All” and you cross the door of that club, then rewrite the narrative to “Open To All, but….” then you are in effect an imposter, liar, fake, etc.


    If again, if the motto “Open To All” is a real thing, where are our players from, Cuba? Palestine? Russia? Present day China?


    Who’s zooming who?



  17. Danso


    You are the first person to embarrass themselves on the blog today with that post.

  1. Pages:
  2. 1
  3. 2
  4. 3
  5. 4
  6. 5