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Page last updated at 23:15 GMT, Monday, 19 April 2010 00:15 UK

Rangers duo win Clydesdale manager and player awards

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Smith lauds 'remarkable' Weir

Rangers duo Walter Smith and David Weir were the big winners at the Clydesdale Bank Premier League awards.

Smith was named manager of the season, while veteran defender Weir picked up the player prize.

"Although you achieve the manager of the year award, it's a reflection on the way everybody at the club has performed," Smith told BBC Scotland.

Weir added: "It's a fantastic award; something I'm very proud of, but the ultimate award is winning the league."

This is the third year of the Clydesdale Bank awards, with Smith picking up the best manager prize in 2008, while it was Csaba Laszlo - sacked by Hearts in January - who won the top boss prize last year.

Smith, in his second spell in charge at Ibrox, is just one win away from sealing back-to-back championships.

Rangers manager Walter Smith
I must admit we've had a fantastic group of players who've been together for a couple of seasons now

Rangers manager Walter Smith

The former Scotland boss has already landed the Co-operative Insurance Cup and his team enjoy an 11-point lead in the title race, with four fixtures remaining.

"I must admit we've had a fantastic group of players who've been together for a couple of seasons now," Smith said.

"They've got a tremendous bond and are a good group of boys. They've worked extremely hard over the last couple of years and for us it's a great reward for them."

Smith conceded that being unable to bolster the squad because of the financial difficulties at Ibrox had brought the players closer together.

"But there have been periods during the season where we could've been doing with a bit of a hand with one or two extra players," he added.

"In January we had a situation where we lost nearly all of our forward players and that was a problem for us.

"But we managed to handle it and we are where we are: on the brink of retaining the championship, which is the most important thing for us."

Smith was reluctant to discuss whether he would still be in the dugout as Rangers manager next season, with question marks remaining over who will take control of the club.

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Smith is Rangers' 'heartbeat' - Weir

"The quicker that everything gets sorted out the better," he said.

"I'm delighted where we are at the present moment. If you had asked me at the start of the season we could've been in this position I would've been very doubtful.

"That's a credit to the way the players have responded."

Weir, who turns 40 later this month, has been a near ever-present at the heart of the Rangers defence.

And Smith said the veteran had proved a tremendous acquisition for the Ibrox club.

"David Weir is, without a doubt, the best professional I've been involved with: in terms of his demeanour, the way he handles himself; he's been fantastic and his form has been fantastic," said the Rangers boss.

"When you consider when I brought him to Rangers I thought he would last six months and he's been here for three-and-a-half years, it's been quite remarkable."

MY SPORT: DEBATE

Weir said he was delighted Smith had given him the opportunity to join Rangers, and he revealed the off-the-field problems had not been a distraction for the players.

"Our working conditions have stayed the same," Weir said. "We come in and there's a smile on everyone's faces; its a happy place to work.

"It's just been business as usual this year. I'm sure Rangers will be successful next year, as long as the people in charge now get the opportunity to do it again."

Weir is one of four shortlisted for the PFA Scotland Player of the Year award, along with Steven Davis, Kris Boyd and Andy Webster.

The results of the players' votes will be announced on Sunday evening.



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see also
SPL clinches new Clydesdale deal
19 Apr 10 |  Scottish Premier
Goodwillie's young player prize
19 Apr 10 |  Scottish Premier
Rangers quartet vie for top award
15 Apr 10 |  Scottish Premier


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