Walter Smith (footballer)

Walter Smith (footballer)

Infobox Football biography
playername = Walter Smith

fullname = Walter Smith, OBE
dateofbirth = birth date and age|1948|2|24|df=y
cityofbirth = Lanark
countryofbirth = Scotland
dateofdeath =
cityofdeath =
countryofdeath =
currentclub = Rangers (manager)
height =
nickname =
position = Defender (retired)
youthyears =
youthclubs =
years = 1966–1975
clubs = Dundee United
Dundee United
caps(goals) = 108 (2)
044 (0)
026 (0)
nationalyears =
nationalteam =
nationalcaps(goals) =
manageryears = 1978–1982
managerclubs = Scotland under-19s
Scotland under-21s

Walter Smith, OBE (born 24 February 1948 in Lanark) is a Scottish former football player, but is better known as a football manager. He is currently the manager of Scottish Premier League club Rangers, his second spell in that capacity with the club.

Early life and career

Walter Smith was born in Parkhead, Lanarkshire, and grew up in Carmyle in the east end of Glasgow next to Celtic Park as a boyhood fan of Rangers. He was employed with the South of Scotland Electricity Board before launching his football career in the 1960s with Junior League team Ashfield.

Smith signed as a defender with Millport United in 1966, joining as a part-timer while working as an electrician. He was a poor to fair player rather than a gifted one. In September 1975 he moved to Dumbarton, but returned to United in 1977. At the age of 29, a pelvic injury threatened his career and he was invited to join the Dundee United coaching staff by Jim McLean. His first team appearances were limited thereafter, but he remained a signed player and his final club match was in September 1980. In total, he made over 250 senior appearances, scoring three goals, two of which were in his own net.

Managerial career

Early managerial career

He developed his coaching skills, not only at Tannadice Park as assistant manager to Jim McLean, at a time when Dundee United were Scottish champions and European Cup semi-finalists, but also with the SFA. In 1978 he was appointed coach of the Scotland Under 18 team, and helped Scotland to win the European Youth Championship in 1982. He became coach of the Under 21 team, and was Alex Ferguson's assistant manager during the 1986 Mexico World Cup.


By 1986, Graeme Souness had invited him to become assistant manager at Rangers and he was instrumental in their success over the following years. When Souness left, Smith was appointed manager of the club in April 1991.

Seven successive league titles followed under Smith's tenure, including a domestic treble in 1992/93. He also won both the Scottish Cup and the League Cup three times each. He signalled his intention to leave Rangers in October 1997 after a period of total domination of Scottish league football. Rangers equalled Celtic's record of nine successive championships in 1997 but were denied a record-breaking tenth success in 1998 as Rangers lost the title to Celtic and lost the Scottish Cup final to Hearts. This marred a splendid managerial career but Smith left Ibrox in May with his reputation as one of the most successful Scottish managers still intact.


Already hugely successful in his native Scotland, Smith accepted the challenge to test his skills and become manager of English Premier League club Everton in 1998. Smith replaced Howard Kendall after his third spell as Everton manager, having only avoided relegation in 1997 due to their superior goal difference over Bolton Wanderers.

Undermined continually by a lack of funds to rejuvenate an aging squad, Smith's time at the club was disappointing and he only managed three successive finishes in the bottom half of the table. The Everton board finally ran out of patience with Smith and he was sacked in March 2002 with Everton in real danger of relegation. The current manager, David Moyes, was his replacement and delivered Everton to a safe finish in fifteenth place.cite news|url=|publisher=BBC Sport website|title=Smith succumbs to pressure|date=13 March, 2002]

In March 2004, Smith returned to football when he had a short spell as assistant manager to Sir Alex Ferguson at Manchester United at the tail end of the 2003/2004 season.


Smith was appointed manager of the Scottish national team on 2 December 2004, succeeding Berti Vogts.cite news|url=|publisher=BBC Sport website|title=Scotland name Smith as new boss |date=2 December, 2004] Despite a revival of fortunes under Smith, hopes of reaching the 2006 World Cup were dashed after suffering an unexpected defeat against Belarus. Scotland's world ranking shot up by seventy places by the end of Smith's tenure at Hampden. Smith recorded his best result to date when Scotland recorded a historic and vital victory over World Cup runners up France on October 7 2006 when they won their Euro 2008 qualification match 1-0 at Hampden Park and temporarily led their group by three points.cite news|url=|publisher=BBC Sport website|title=Scotland 1-0 France |date=7 October 2006] However a 2-0 defeat at the hands of Ukraine on October 11 2006, handed Smith's team its first defeat of the campaign.cite news|url=|publisher=BBC Sport website|title=Ukraine 2-0 Scotland |date=11 October 2006]

Return to Rangers

On January 5 2007, many press outlets reported that Rangers had spoken to Smith with a view to hiring him to manage Rangers again, with Ally McCoist as assistant manager. However, on January 8, the SFA rebuffed Rangers' approach for Smith by refusing to release him from his SFA contract, or to accept his resignation, citing his contractual obligation to the national team until late 2008, during a critical period for the team. Smith's return as Rangers manager was announced on January 10, 2007.cite news|url=|publisher=BBC Sport website|title=Smith appointed boss of Rangers |date=10 January, 2007]

He made a better start to his second spell at Ibrox, beating Dundee United 5-0 on January 13, with two goals from Kris Boyd and one each from Barry Ferguson, Chris Burke and Charlie Adam. The good form continued into the latter stages of the season, with Rangers (as of April 21) winning nine of Smith's eleven league games in charge. Smith's January signings were David Weir, Ugo Ehiogu and Kevin Thomson.

In his first season back at Ibrox, Smith secured second place with a 2-0 home victory over league champions Celtic.

His first final since his return was secured with a 2-0 win over Hearts in the 2007-08 Scottish League Cup, they played Dundee United in the Final - the game was drawn 1-1 after normal time, and 2-2 after extra time. The winners were decided by penalty kicks with Rangers winning 3-2 with Kris Boyd scoring the winning penalty (as well as the goals for Rangers in normal time and extra time).

In European Competition - Walter Smith booked Rangers' first European Final for 36 years. In the quarter finals, after a 0-0 home draw with Sporting, Rangers went on to win the away leg 2-0. In the semi final they drew 0-0 in both legs against Fiorentina and after extra time, they won 4-2 on penalties, taking Rangers to the UEFA Cup Final in Manchester, which they lost 0-2 to Zenit St. Petersburg.

Managerial stats

*"Correct as of May 1, 2008"

Playing honours

Dundee United

**Scottish Cup (1) - 1973-74

Managerial honours


**Scottish League Premier Division (7) - 1990-91, 1991-92, 1992-93, 1993-94, 1994-95, 1995-96, 1996-1997
**Scottish Cup (4) - 1991-92, 1992-93, 1995-96, 2007-08
**Scottish League Cup (4) - 1992-93, 1993-94, 1996-97, 2007-08

**UEFA Cup (1) - 2007-08
**Scottish Cup (2) - 1993-94, 1997-98


*Clydesdale Bank SPL Manager of the Year (1) - 2007-08
*SFWA Manager of the Year (6) - 1991-92, 1992-93, 1993-94, 1995-96, 1996-97, 2007-08


External links

*soccerbase (manager)|id=1312|name=Walter Smith
* [ Career Stats at Newcastle Fans]

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