Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Walter Smith was born in Lanark in 1948 and he grew up in Carmyle in the east end of Glasgow as a boyhood fan of Glasgow Rangers. He trained as an electrician and gained employment at the South of Scotland Electricity Board before launching his football career in the 1960s with non-League team Ashfield.
Smith signed as a defender with Dundee United in 1966, joining as a part-timer while working as an electrician. He was a decent player rather than a gifted one. In September 1975 he moved to Dumbarton, but returned to United in 1977. At the age of 29, a pelvic injury threatened his career and he was invited to join the Dundee United coaching staff by Jim McLean . His first team appearances were limited thereafter, but he remained a signed player and his final club match was in September 1980. In total, he made over 250 senior appearances, scoring three goals.
He developed his coaching skills, not only at Tannadice as assistant manager to Jim McLean, at a time when Dundee United were Scottish champions and European Cup semi-finalists, but also with the SFA. In 1978 he was appointed coach of the Scotland Under 18 team, and helped Scotland to win the European Youth Championship in 1982. He became coach of the Under 21 team, and was Alex Ferguson's assistant manager during the World Cup in Mexico in 1986.
By then, Graeme Souness had invited him to become assistant manager at Glasgow Rangers and he was instrumental in Rangers' success over the following years. When Souness left, Smith was appointed manager of the club in April 1991.
Seven successive league titles followed under Smith's tenure, including a domestic treble in 1993. He also won both the Scottish Cup and the Scottish League Cup three times each. In 1993, Smith took Rangers to within one match of the Champions League final. He signalled his intention to leave Rangers in October 1997 after a period of total domination of Scottish league football. Rangers equalled Celtic's record of 9 successive championships in 1997 but were denied a record-breaking 10th success in 1998 as Rangers lost the title to Celtic and lost the Scottish Cup final to Hearts. This marred a splendid managerial career but Smith left Ibrox in May with his reputation as one the most successful Scottish managers still intact. In his time as Rangers manager, Smith spent £45 million on a array of domestic and foreign stars.
Already hugely successful in Scotland, Smith accepted the offer to become manager of Everton in 1998. But financial constraints made it difficult for him to build a side that was capable of challenging for trophies. In March 2002, with Everton facing relegation, Smith was fired.
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