Rangers fans welcome prodigal son Walter Smith with open arms

Rangers fan Stewart Provan
New dawn: Rangers fan Stewart Provan is delighted that Walter Smith has returned to the club.© STV

It might have come as a surprise to some but for the first time in what fans say feels like a long time there is some good news at Ibrox.

The man behind the nine-in-a-row league triumphs, the UEFA cup final run and countless other cup successes has returned home.

To the Ibrox faithful Walter Smith is more than just another name on the board of Rangers. He is a symbol that the good times could be coming back.

Life as as Rangers fan has been far from easy. Liquidation, sevco, newco, transfer embargoes and re-birth as a Division Three club have all taken place in what has been a summer to forget for the Gers.

New owner Charles Green has done his best to convince fans that he is the man to lead the club back to glory - but not everyone is yet convinced.

He has supported manger Ally McCoist wherever he could. Despite the embargo, new players were brought to the club, each tasked with getting the Gers back into the Scottish Premier League. But perhaps his greatest move has been turning a former foe into a friend.

“I am over the moon. It’s the best thing that’s happened to Rangers," explains fan Robert McRobert.

Robert McRobert, lifelong Rangers fan

The 79-year-old has been supporting the club for around 70-years having first been taken to Ibrox as a young boy.

He believes that the duo McCoist and Smith will be a catalyst for the good times returning to the club.

He said: "Ally McCoist will know that Walter will only have agreed to come back if the conditions were right for him at the club. It’s a confidence boost that we’re going in the right direction.

“It wasn’t the fans that put us in this place but we were the ones getting punished. Now we’ve got a fan back at the top of the club.

"It's just fantastic.

“I like Ally and I appreciate the job that he has done but he doesn't have the experience that Walter has and I'm not saying that he will interfere in the running of the club but it's a bit of a safety net for the manager.

“He is Rangers. He knows how much we are hurting."

John McGeown, 32, is a fan who echoes Robert's sentiments.

Rangers fan John McGeown

Having grown up around Ibrox he now feels the club are making progress after a summer to forget.

He said: "I think it’s great news for Rangers and everyone at the club.

"We’re a giant who is in the Third Division so it’s not been easy for us all so Walter coming back has just lifted the place.

"To be honest, the problem I have with Charles Green is that I don’t know too much about him. He’s came out and said a few things about the club and he makes all the right noises but he’s not a Rangers man like Walter is.

"With him coming back we’ll all feel much more confident investing in the club. It’s going to take at least three years to get us back in the SPL and that’s tough to swallow but what Walter gives us is trust.

"With the summer we’ve had, I don’t trust anyone in Scottish football."

Smith, who managed Rangers across two spells, was first brought to the club in 1986 as assistant to new boss Graeme Souness. The two were seen as the figureheads of a revolution at the club during which, star players such as Terry Butcher helped lead the light blues to the first of nine domestic titles.

Souness would eventually leave Ibrox to take the reigns at Liverpool, leaving Smith to assume the position of manager for a highly successful seven years.

As the future of Rangers looked increasingly uncertain over the summer, Smith was initially opposed to Charles Green's Sevco consortium to buy the club having formed a rival bid with various business backers.

However, this morning, Smith confirmed his intention to return to the club as a non-executive director.

Reacting to the news, manager Ally McCoist described Smith as a man who had "done it all and is a Rangers man through and through. His presence will be a huge benefit to the club."

Far from being intimidated by the arrival of his former mentor, fans believe that Smith's experience will benefit Ally McCoist.

Rangers fan Malcolm Wood

Lifelong Gers fan Malcolm Wood, 60, said: "I think it will make a big difference because it bring a lot of confidence to the club. Ally is now in a great position because he has the extra support of someone who trusts him on the board.

“The fans are coming back in their droves and having Walter there will only support that. He is a living legend who will always have the support of the fans.

"When the transfer ban is lifted, Walter will be able to use his connections in the game to bring in new players and that can only be a good thing for Ally. He will always be his own man.

"But he can now turn to one of the greats in the game for advice."

What do you think about the return of Walter Smith to the Ibrox fold? Let us know on Twitter @STVGlasgow

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