Once in a while, Walter Smith pops up to brighten our day.
Smith was – of course – once a Director and then Chairman of Rangers International Football Club.
He was, therefore, possibly-ideally placed to ask searching questions of the now much-maligned former Sevco regime. And indeed to crack the whip if he thought the manager and players were under-performing.
But so much for context.
On this occasion, Smith has – in a completely shocking development – provided his full backing for the methods of the man he trained and then backed for the two jobs of managing Rangers and then Sevco .
One Alistair Murdoch McCoist MBE.
Late of the Crumbledome dugout, and now resident in a well-remunerated garden shed somewhere in Sevconia.
Smith has responded to some comments from ex-Rangers player Mark ‘Like Signing A New Player’ Hateley.
[Incidentally, when Hateley signed for Rangers, did he tell a bewildered MSM that Rangers signing him was like signing a new player?]
Hateley has committed the cardinal sin of criticising Mr Cheey Chappy by suggesting that the Sevco players were unfit during his tenure.
As the Daily Mail reports
“The former England international striker, who partnered McCoist up front at Ibrox in the 1990s, said this week he felt the squad did not have the required physical conditioning to challenge for the Championship title under his old strike partner last season.”
Step forward The Cardiganed One to set Hateley straight…
“I have to say I completely disagree with Mark Hateley’s assessment of that situation”.
I feel a ‘stare’ coming on…
“I don’t think for one minute that there has been an issue with fitness at Ibrox. I worked for Rangers for years and we’d equalled the record number of matches played for one season (reaching the 2008 UEFA Cup Final) and when I left there is no way that Ally McCoist and Kenny McDowall, in any shape or form, would have allowed the fitness to drop.”
So there you have it! No pupil of Walter Smith could possibly let standards drop!
But it gets better…
“The issue last season was not fitness, it was the squad not handling the pressure of playing for Rangers adequately.”
So those players we saw flagging towards the end of games last season were not lacking in fitness! They were simply hampered by suddenly remembering that they were playing for Sevco.
And the enormity of that realisation was like putting lead in their boots!
But Smith hasn’t finished yet…
“Rangers now have a board that want to see the club go forward and for the right reasons. The manager has to take some of the credit for that brightness moving on to the pitch. (But) I couldn’t say that fitness was the cause of Rangers’ problems last year – that’s not a fair assessment.
Dear me. This is amazing stuff from someone who appears at courses to give up-and-coming managers the benefit of his wisdom.
Picture the scene:
Course host: “Right lads, here is the legendary Walter Smith to give you some tips on having a fit and dynamic team. Over to you Mr Smith”.
Walter Smith: “Good Morning. All you really need to do is endure you have a good board in place that wants to see the club move forward for the right reasons. Preferably Dave King. And there you are. Job done. Any questions?”
Young Rookie Manager: “Errr Mr Smith, how do you define a ‘club’. Surely the board is part of the ‘holding company’?”
Walter Smith [Staring in a displeased fashion]: “Now listen Son, don’t get clever with me…”.
Yes, The Clumpany feels that we can all learn something from Walter Smith.
And presumably the gnomes in Ally’s garden are currently the fittest in all of Sevconia (boardroom stability permitting…)?