Smith Thanks Fans For Ibrox Send Off

Walter Smith enjoyed a lap of honour at his final game at Ibrox last night.

He then claimed he had no second thoughts about quitting as manager.

Smith is set to step down at the end of the season, bringing his second spell at the club to an end.

Their 2-0 win against Dundee United means Rangers move four points clear of Celtic with one game to go at Kilmarnock this weekend.

Their victory was then followed by an emotional lap of honour around the stadium with his players.

Smith said: "It was a nice reception and I thank everyone for that. I thank the support, it was great for so many people to stay behind and applaud in the manner that they did.

I was delighted and I hope we get the same opportunity on Sunday as well.

Most of the time when you are a manager and you are leaving, you're getting sacked. You don't get laps of honour, you get thrown out.

``So when you do get an opportunity to go round and accept applause, of course it becomes a wee bit emotional for you. Hopefully it will be a wee bit more emotional at the weekend.''

Asked if there was any regret at his decision to quit now, at the age of 63, Smith added: ``I've thought about it for a while and the time is right. A change of ownership and a change of manager.''

Smith will be replaced at the helm by Ally McCoist and the current number two was keen to stress the lap of honour was in recognition of Smith's achievements over his two terms, rather than premature title celebrations.

Dundee United boss Peter Houston also paid tribute to Smith following an emotional night at Ibrox.

He said: ``He is different class. I look at Jock Stein, who was a massive manager. I look at Sir Alex Ferguson and Jim McLean and, in my opinion, Walter Smith is up there alongside them.

He is a top manager and he deserves to go out as a winner because he, himself, is a winner.

He might be the nicest guy in the world to talk to sometimes but when his team is getting beat, he can be an evil man as well! I've got great respect for him, the way he holds and carries himself.

I have no preference who wins the league but if Walter wins it in his last season, then congratulations and well done.''

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