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Mark Hateley Old Firm verdict: Queen must honour Walter


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It's time the Rangers boss was handed a knighthood by the Queen in the New Year's Honours list but it's nowhere near time for him to stand down.

Walter Smith won't be going anywhere until he has built another truly great Rangers side to pass down to his good friend Alastair McCoist.

Great people and personalities in sport do get rewarded for achievement and he falls into that category for his services to Rangers and Scotland.

He meets all the criteria like Alex Ferguson, Bobby Charlton and all these legendary characters within the game.

If you are in the same room as him you listen to him because of his experience and ability.

He loves Rangers and leaving a great side for Alastair would be his No.1 priority but their victory over Celtic at Ibrox proved one thing - he has some way to go before he builds a side he will be happy to pass on.

In an ideal world he would get everything set up and everything in place so it is a natural progression for a new man to take over.

That is a long way off and Walter knows it. The good things is he will never lose the passion for that fight.That was there for everyone to see at Rugby Park last week.

Walter wants to be successful and be a winner.

He has always been a winner.

At this stage of his career he doesn't want to be like he was at Everton where he was having to cut here and there and having to downsize.

He is in the twilight of his career and he demands to be in a working place that is conducive to a right good football side. I am sure he will get that.

Sir Alex Ferguson wants another Champions League before he leaves Manchester United. That would be a fitting way for him to stand down.

Walter would like to be remembered for building a really strong side to pass on to the next boss.

When I saw him say recently that unless he received assurances from new chairman Alastair Johnston, I wasn't worried in the slightest.

You have to appreciate the club are in a transitional period just now.

Things are going to happen in terms of more finances in the lead up to Christmas, I would say.

Managers need to know if they have the backing from the new people whoever they are when they come in.

I'm sure Walter has had that backing and been told what is going on. But he knows that he needs to strengthen the squad soon.

This squad has been together now for a couple of years and he doesn't want it to stagnate.

He doesn't want players knowing they are going to be in the team week in, week out.

Is this group of players going to go forward? That is what Walter is waiting to see.

If not then he will make Rangers great again. Management is still in his blood and there is a fire in his belly. He just needs the guarantees.

But he would have been absolutely delighted yesterday, especially with the players he had missing.

To get the two goals without having to work for them would have been the biggest surprise.

It wasn't the greatest game but they are now only one point behind Celtic without getting out of first gear yet.

People say they went back to their old ways of defending in numbers again and were boring.

But look at most foreign sides, apart from Real Madrid and Barcelona, they do that and are labelled tactical experts.

This is typical Italian style.You go one up and you defend with your life.

You only have to score one and keep a clean sheet to get the three points.

Okay so the Celtic centre-halves were absolutely nowhere for both Kenny Miller goals and the referee was kind to them.

But Barcelona were awful against Almeria and still won 1-0. You can't always play beautiful football. Some would say Rangers haven't played beautiful football for a long time but at the end of the day it is a results business and they are breathing down the necks of Celtic.

Walter wants to be in the title race at Christmas as the window opens and circumstances will change at the club at around that time as well.

Then the options will be open to bring in new players and to capitalise on the transfer window to push for that second consecutive championship.

That would be Walter's eighth title as Rangers boss but I know he would like to get into double figures before he retires and Alastair gets his chance.

http://blogs.<No links to this website>/markhateley...nives.html#more

Interesting article, on his service to football and his record in the game you really can't argue with him receiving a Knighthood.

Also a few wee bits of him indicating some investment in the team, "Things are going to happen in terms of more finances in the lead up to Christmas, I would say."

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