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McCoist ready to follow on from Smith at Rangers

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Rangers manager Ally McCoist

Rangers manager Ally McCoist

Deal me in: Rangers manager Walter Smith and assistant boss Ally McCoist shake hands on their new contracts with the club’s chief executive Martin Bain

Deal me in: Rangers manager Walter Smith and assistant boss Ally McCoist shake hands on their new contracts with the club’s chief executive Martin Bain

Rangers manager Ally McCoist

Allty McCoist admits it will be “a privilege and an honour” to replace Walter Smith at the Rangers helm when the veteran boss retires.

Smith has signed a new deal that will keep him at the Scottish champions for one more year, before handing over the reins to assistant boss McCoist and first team coach Kenny McDowall, who both penned two-year deals last night.

All three had been working without contracts since January.

Smith defied the odds to lead Rangers to a second successive Scottish Premier League title this season, despite financial restrictions which have prevented him from buying a new player since August 2008.

He initially refused to confirm whether he would remain at Ibrox to defend his crown, leading to fears that he was set to quit Rangers this summer.

However, last night's announcement brings to an end weeks of uncertainty and acts as a major boost for the Ibrox club, following a growing clamour among his players for Smith to remain at the helm.

Former striker McCoist has served a five-year apprenticeship under the 62-year-old, firstly with the Scotland national team then back at Ibrox as his number two for Smith's second spell at the Glasgow giants.

McCoist said: “We're thrilled, absolutely thrilled to get it sorted. I think it was fairly common knowledge we didn't want to go anywhere at all.

“This place is our home and thankfully we've had a reasonable amount of success in the last few years. For that reason, we were really keen to stay and we are delighted with the way it has all worked out.

“It will be a privilege and an honour to take over from Walter next year and that is a challenge I shall certainly relish.”

Fans have been united in their desire to see Smith and his backroom staff remain at Rangers and McCoist believes the news will be widely welcomed.

He added: “I'm hopeful the majority of the supporters will be very pleased we are staying. I'm sure they'll appreciate we've had one or two excellent seasons.

“We've had some great times and going forward, it is our aim and our objective to create some more for them.

“They have been fantastic to us over the years and we want to repay them for that with more trophies.

“The last two league campaigns have been very successful and we've had one or two cup runs which have been great.

“As long as we are top when it comes to the end of the campaign next May, that will be great.”

Despite the uncertainty which has surrounded the future of the management team in recent weeks, McCoist revealed that plans are already under way for the new campaign.

He said: “It's fair to say we have already been doing a little bit of work anyway and now we've the opportunity to continue with that.

“We've got a big season ahead of us with the Champions League coming up and we also want to retain the title.”

Smith said: “I am wholly committed to managing the club next season and when it comes to the end of next season I firmly believe that Ally and Kenny would do a great job and I am glad everybody at the club shares that view.

“I have given this decision a great deal of thought.

“The next season holds many challenges on and off the field, but we are all Rangers men at heart and are looking forward to going for our third league title in a row and playing in the Champions League.”

Belfast Telegraph