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Walter Smith, OBE (born 24 February 1948) is a Scottishmarker football manager. He is currently the manager of Scottish Premier League club Rangers. This is his second spell as manager of the club - he previously won seven consecutive Scottish league championships in the 1990s during his first spell as manager. Smith is the second most successful manager in the history of Rangers behind Bill Struth.

He left Rangers in 1998 and managed Premier League club Everton for four seasons, but was sacked in 2002. Smith was later appointed Scotland manager in 2004 and presided over a revival in the national team's fortunes, before returning to Rangers in 2007. He had a relatively undistinguished playing career, consisting of two spells with Dundee United which was split by a short time at Dumbarton.

Early life

Smith was born in Lanarkmarker, and was a boyhood fan of Rangers. He was employed by the South of Scotland Electricity Board before launching his football career in the 1960s with Junior League team Ashfield.

Playing career

Smith signed as a defender with Dundee United in 1966, joining as a part-timer while working as an electrician. 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 coaching career

He developed his coaching skills, not only at Tannadice Parkmarker 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 successful in his native Scotland, Smith accepted the manager's job at 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.

Under Smith, Everton finished in the bottom half of the table for three consecutive seasons. The Everton board finally ran out of patience with Smith and he was sacked in March 2002 after a 3–0 FA Cup Sixth Round defeat to Middlesbrough, with Everton in real danger of relegation from the Premier League. He was replaced by David Moyes, who delivered Everton to a safe finish in fifteenth place.

Manchester United

In March 2004, Smith returned to football when he had a short spell as assistant manager to Alex Ferguson at Manchester United at the end of the 2003–04 season.

Scotland national team

Smith was appointed manager of the Scottish national team on 2 December 2004, succeeding Berti Vogts. Despite a revival of fortunes under Smith, hopes of reaching the 2006 World Cup were dashed after an unexpected defeat against Belarus. Scotland's world ranking shot up by seventy places by the end of Smith's tenure at Hampdenmarker. Smith recorded his best result to date when Scotland recorded a historic and vital victory over World Cup runners up France on 7 October 2006 when they won their UEFA Euro 2008 qualification match 1–0 at Hampden Park and temporarily led their group by three points. A 2–0 defeat against Ukraine on 11 October 2006 was Smith's team's first of the campaign.

Return to Rangers

On 5 January 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. On 8 January, 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 10 January 2007.

He made a better start to his second spell at Ibroxmarker, beating Dundee United 5–0 on 13 January, with two goals from Kris Boyd and one each from Barry Ferguson, Chris Burke and Charlie Adam. Smith's 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. Rangers won 3–2, with Kris Boyd scoring the winning penalty (as well as the goals for Rangers in normal time and extra time).

In the UEFA Cup, Walter Smith booked Rangers' first European final for 36 years. In the quarter-final, 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.

Smith suffered an embarrassing start to his second full campaign as Rangers manager, drawing 0-0 with Lithuanian side FBK Kaunas at Ibrox on 30 July 2008 and then losing the return leg 2-1. The loss against Kaunas meant Rangers made an early exit from European competition. Smith however more than made up for this setback when on 24 May 2009 Smith won his first SPL title in his second spell in charge and the 52nd Championship in the history of Rangers. He followed this up with the Scottish Cup a week later to end the season with a League and Cup double.

Managerial stats

  • Correct as of 21 November 2009
Team From To Record
G W D L Win %
Rangers 10 January 2007 153 95 35 23 62.09
Scotland 2 December 2004 10 January 2007 16 7 5 4 43.75
Everton 1 July 1998 13 March 2002 168 53 50 65 31.54
Rangers 16 April 1991 31 May 1998 380 249 68 63 65.52







  1. "Walter Smith joins Man Utd" BBC Sport website (3 March 2004)

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