Belfast Telegraph

Sunday 28 December 2014

Smith’s Rangers future still up in air

Rangers manager Walter Smith
Rangers manager Walter Smith

Walter Smith will keep Rangers fans guessing a while longer after refusing to confirm whether he has taken charge of his last game as manager of the club.

The veteran boss watched his players finally get their hands on the Clydesdale Bank Premier League trophy after battling out a 3-3 draw with Motherwell at Ibrox.

But with ongoing financial uncertainty and as yet no resolution to a potential take-over of the club, there are still questions Smith is seeking answers to before making a decision on his own future.

“We will do our sit-down and we will all have a think about what we are going to do but we will enjoy our holiday and then see where we go from there,” he said. “We've just won the championship and everyone has been fascinated by what's going to happen at Rangers but we are no further forward.

“We will try to enjoy today's celebrations and that's as far as we are at the moment.”

Asked if he would find it difficult to give up life at Rangers after yet another successful campaign, Smith said: “I've been lucky, I've had a lot of occasions like this.

“I've enjoyed every minute and I've enjoyed winning this championship as much as I've enjoyed any I've had before.

“That doesn't really answer your question, does it? That was intentional!”

It was also an emotional occasions for several players — Kris Boyd, David Weir, Kirk Broadfoot, DaMarcus Beasley, Nacho Novo and Steven Smith —who are out of contract and who may have played their last game for Rangers.

Smith said: “We've got a situation where we have six out of contract and we haven't agreed a contract with any. Sometimes it's not always the club's choice, sometimes it's the player's choice so we will just have to wait and see what happens. This evening we will enjoy the presentation of the trophy and look back on what has been a successful season for us.”

But one player he does believe can carry on for another season is skipper Weir, who celebrates his 40th birthday today and who picked up the Scottish Football Writers' Player of the Year award last night. Smith said: “It looks as though he could go on. He hasn't missed a game this season so it doesn't look as though there is any reason why he can't go on. He has been terrific for us and his play

this season would indicate there isn't going to be a drastic drop in any way, shape or form for next season.” Reflecting on Rangers' double-winning triumph against a back-drop of off-field problems, midfielder Steven Davis said: “I think it's a brilliant achievement.

“There have been a lot of things stacked against us but the club hasn't won back-to-back titles for some time. To do it this season is fantastic. There has been a real desire within the team to be successful. Even when we weren't playing well we managed to grind out results.”

Meanwhile, Motherwell boss Craig Brown has indicated he expects to hold talks with chairman John Boyle after revealing, like his Rangers counterpart, he has been working without a contract.

He said: “We are not begging for a contract and we have been very grateful to Motherwell for giving us this opportunity. We are operating as though we are here. We will be looking at new players, looking to re-sign players and operating normally.”

Rangers looked set for victory thanks to a Kris Boyd strike and a double from Kyle Lafferty, despite Jamie Murphy pulling a goal back.

Motherwell struck twice in the final minute through Steve Jennings and a Lucas Jutkiewicz penalty but it was not enough to prevent Hibernian pipping them to fourth spot and a guaranteed Europa League berth.

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