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Page last updated at 14:33 GMT, Wednesday, 10 January 2007

Rangers welcome returning legends

Walter Smith and Ally McCoist
Smith and McCoist oversee training with Scotland before beating France

Rangers fans will roll out the welcome mat for the dream-ticket management duo of Walter Smith and Ally McCoist.

Paul Le Guen's acrimonious exit as boss was followed by a Scottish Cup loss at Dunfermline - but the arrival of the two Ibrox heroes will lift the gloom.

Smith, 58, helped the blue half of Glasgow dominate the domestic scene in the 90s and has since worked wonders at the helm of the Scottish national team.

And McCoist, 44, is a Gers striking legend, with 355 goals in 581 outings.

There are high hopes that their arrival will herald a return to the glory days.

Rangers have endured two trophyless seasons in their last three campaigns as domestic dominance north of the border has swung to city rivals Celtic.

Such a situation would have seemed singularly preposterous when Smith was last at the club.

After a playing career with Dundee United and Dumbarton, boyhood Rangers supporter Smith cut his teeth in coaching at Tannadice before assuming the position of assistant to Graeme Souness at Ibrox in 1986.

When Souness left for Liverpool in 1991 a seamless transition ensued, with Smith taking the reins.

They won 20 titles in Smith's time at the club
In seven years as manager Smith landed 14 trophies
In eight seasons since Smith left, Gers fans have celebrated 12 titles and Cups

He led the club to seven successive titles, which drew them level with Celtic's famous nine-in-a-row record that was set between 1966 and 1974, and also landed three Scottish Cups and 4 League Cups, including a treble in the 1992/93 season.

His record was slightly marred by a lack of silverware in his final season before upping sticks for the perceived promised land of the Premiership and Everton in 1998.

And at Goodison Park his managerial stock took a further hit.

Smith endured a mixed time on Merseyside as he juggled with financial problems and failed to repeat the success he had enjoyed at Rangers.

"I soon got out of the habit of studying the top end of the League table," he reflected on his time with the Toffees.

Despite bringing a sense of stability to the club the powers that be had not lured him there to stagnate in mid-table.

And as they teetered on the precipice of a relegation battle in 2002, Smith was shown the door after an abysmal defeat at Middlesbrough in his third FA Cup quarter-final with the club.

'Super Ally' is the club's all-time leading scorer with 355 goals in 581 matches and won Europe's Golden Shoe award in 1992 and 1993
In his 15 seasons with the club Rangers won...
10 league titles
Three Scottish Cups
Nine League Cups

Following a spell on the sidelines, Smith returned to the fray as assistant to fellow Scot Sir Alex Ferguson at Manchester United in March 2004.

And before the end of the year he was back in the big time as Scotland boss, trying to boost the fortunes of the national team after ineffectual reign of Berti Vogts.

The announcement was hailed by a host of Scottish pundits and their faith was repaid.

"The SFA have picked the best man for the job and I see no embarrassment at all in being beaten to it by an exceptional manager," said Gordon Strachan, who at the time had also been in the running to be Scotland boss.

Former national boss Craig Brown added: "His main quality is his coaching ability, backed up by excellent man-management - he manages players well."

And former Scotland striker Charlie Nicholas chimed: "He is a gentleman but if you get on the wrong side of him he will let you know.

"Walter has to put his personality in, help change and modernise the SFA and make a strong impression on it. Then the team will get better and stronger."

Indeed it did.

Smith invited McCoist to join the coaching set-up and soon Scotland were heading in the right direction.

In the 16 games before Smith took over the national team won just five matches:
W5; D3; L8; F15; A27
In 16 matches at the helm Smith's Scotland won seven games:
W7; D5; L4; F26; A15

He won seven of his 16 matches in charge, losing only four. Scotland had lost half their previous 16 games.

And he also turned the goals for and against columns on their head. Under Smith, the Tartan Army celebrated 26 goals and saw only 15 go in at the other end.

The sweetest was Gary Caldwell's winner against World Cup finalists France at Hampden in October 2006 and, despite a defeat in Ukraine in what is now his final match, Smith leaves Scotland top of their qualifying group for Euro 2008 - looking down on France and Italy.

Now comes the task of turning around a Rangers side that is a mammoth 17 points behind Celtic in the Scottish Premier League and out of both Scottish Cups.

Rangers caretaker boss Ian Durrant said: "Walter will get the help he needs and will bring in the calibre of player to get the club back on track.

"It's not just a massive job to turn things around, it's a massive job - period - working at Rangers."

Smith knows that already. Forewarned is forearmed.

Clydesdale Bank Premier League Table
30 January 2010 17:38
    P GD PTS
1 Rangers 23 40 54
2 Celtic 22 21 44

3 Hibernian 22 16 42
4 Dundee Utd 23 4 39

5 Motherwell 22 0 30
6 Hearts 23 -5 28
7 Aberdeen 21 -5 27
8 St Johnstone 20 -8 23
9 St Mirren 22 -11 20
10 Hamilton 21 -18 17
11 Kilmarnock 22 -15 16

12 Falkirk 21 -19 14

see also
Smith appointed boss of Rangers
10 Jan 07 |  Rangers
McDowall happy about Gers switch
10 Jan 07 |  Rangers
Le Guen and Rangers part company
04 Jan 07 |  Rangers
Clash of cultures
05 Jan 07 |  Rangers
Rangers reel as Le Guen departs
04 Jan 07 |  Rangers
Le Guen points blame at Ferguson
02 Jan 07 |  Rangers
Dunfermline 3-2 Rangers
07 Jan 07 |  Scottish Cups

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