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Page last updated at 15:23 GMT, Wednesday, 28 April 2010 16:23 UK

Rangers' Walter Smith hopes improve - Dick Advocaat

AZ Alkmaar manager Dick Advocaat
Dick Advocaat believes Champions League football may sway Walter Smith

By John Barnes

Dick Advocaat believes Rangers claiming direct entry into the Champions League group stage could boost their chances of retaining manager Walter Smith.

Smith, 62, has been working without a contract since January.

And former Gers boss Advocaat, now in charge of AZ Alkmaar and in Glasgow for a friendly against Celtic, told BBC Scotland that Smith may stay.

"Financially, it's a big bonus being in the Champions League. Maybe that can persuade Walter to stay," he said.

The Dutchman, who won five trophies during his spell in charge of Rangers between 1998 and 2002, said the club must do all they can to retain Smith's services.

"Walter is a great, great man," said Advocaat. "Beside that, he is a great coach.

"Again, winning the championship with little money, that shows again what a great man he is. I'm very proud of him."

Rangers are heading for direct qualification to the Champions League group stages after Lyon lost Tuesday's semi-final against Bayern Munich.

If Lyon had won this season's competition and failed to qualify from the French league, Rangers could have been in next season's qualifiers.

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see also
Rangers head for the group stage
27 Apr 10 |  Rangers
Lyon 0-3 Bayern Munich (agg 0-4)
27 Apr 10 |  Europe
Rangers chair hopeful on signings
27 Apr 10 |  Rangers
Rangers investigated on tax issue
28 Apr 10 |  Rangers
Weir hails Smith's winning spirit
27 Apr 10 |  Rangers
Gers laud Smith for trophy haul
26 Apr 10 |  Rangers

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