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Last Updated: Tuesday, 30 November, 2004, 15:28 GMT
McLeish praises Smith appointment
Walter Smith
Rangers manager Alex McLeish believes Scotland have chosen the perfect manager in Walter Smith.

Smith, one of McLeish's predecessors at Ibrox, will be confirmed as Berti Vogts successor on Thursday.

"It is still a very difficult job for anybody to take on but I am delighted that it is Walter.

"He has massive experience and I am sure the players will respond to his managerial ways. He carries a lot of credibility throughout the game."

McLeish, who won 77 caps for his country, said he was pleased the job had gone to a Scot.

"Without trying to take anything away from Berti, at the time he was appointed guys like Walter weren't available," he added.

"I think it was an opportune time to bring in a foreign coach but it is great to see someone of Walter's charisma and stature in charge of the national team now.

"It will take time - and it was always going to take time for Berti - but Walter Smith will eventually do a great job for us."

Newcastle manager Graeme Souness feels Walter Smith may be on a "hiding to nothing" when he becomes Scotland boss.

Smith was Souness' assistant manager at Rangers in the late 1980s and the pair remain close friends.

Souness told the Daily Record: "I wouldn't be brave enough to take on the Scotland job.

"There's an element of Walter being on a hiding to nothing but his love for football and his pride as a Scotsman have made him look beyond that.

"He is risking a tremendous amount and he deserves great credit for that.

"I've spoken to him about it. I knew he was interested, I knew he had a chance of getting it and I knew he was excited about it," added the Magpies boss.

"But it's a brave, brave move. I didn't explain that to him. He's a big boy and he doesn't need me to tell him.

"I'm sure he doesn't need this job but he's put his neck on the line and fair play to him for that."

Vogts quit as Scotland manager at the start of November after the team managed only two points from their opening three World Cup qualifiers.

But former Scotland international Joe Jordan has warned that Smith cannot be expected to perform miracles.

"Walter will have the same problems that Berti had," Jordan told BBC Radio Four.

"He won't have the strength in depth that the Scotland team have had in the past.

"But I think he's going to have try and sort out the reputation of Scottish football for producing players - I think that's something that's still a bit of a mystery."

Vogts partly blamed his decision to resign on "abuse" from some fans and the media and Souness urged both to have patience with Smith.

"I've said it before - this is probably the poorest Scotland squad of all time - and I stand by that.

"Walter will know that too but the people who have to understand it most of all are the Scottish public.

"He will need the patience of the Scottish people. As a race we have an inflated opinion of ourselves - and it's been that way since the first newspaper was printed."





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