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Last Updated: Saturday, 23 April, 2005, 11:42 GMT 12:42 UK
Smith signs and targets Lambert
Ross County manager Alex Smith
Alex Smith was sacked by Dundee United in 2002
Ross County manager Alex Smith has targeted Paul Lambert as his successor after signing a new one-year contract.

Smith says the former Scotland midfielder would be an ideal choice once he leaves Celtic in the summer and wants the veteran as player-coach.

"I see it as a great compliment from the club to be able to appoint a successor," Smith told the Daily Star.

"It would be nice to think we could attract somebody of the quality of Paul Lambert to the club."

Lambert is keen to go into coaching but has admitted that he would find it difficult to keep playing for any other club than Celtic.

Smith managed Lambert at St Mirren.

But another major problem for the County boss could be wages, the Dingwall outfit's chairman admitting that they came close to going out of business in recent months.

The First Division club are to cut their spending by 250,000, reducing the senior squad from 22 to 17 players.

Peter Swanson told The Sun: "It was perilous, extremely perilous.

"Things had to be done and we've done them. We couldn't come out and tell the fans everything in case we drove the club into a downward spiral."

County lie fourth in Division One but failed to mount a promotion challenge this season.

And their board, which is facing financial problems, looks jealously at neighbours Inverness Caledonian Thistle's successful first season in the Scottish Premier League.

Veteran Smith has been with County since 2002.

He had previously managed Stenhousemuir, Stirling Albion, St Mirren, Aberdeen, Clyde and Dundee United.

Swanson told his club's website: "We are pleased to announce that Alex Smith and the club have reached an agreement whereby Alex will have his contract extended on a rolling basis.

"Alex will assist the club in identifying and attracting the services of a potential successor, which would ultimately allow Alex to move to a senior technical position within the club structure, thus giving a huge boost to the club''s progress in many areas.

"The board's preference at this time is for a high quality player, who possesses the relevant coaching qualifications."

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