Jump to content

Walter Smith Article


GGBear

Recommended Posts

We must mind the gap

Daryll Broadfoot April 16 2008

http://www.theherald.co.uk/sport/headlines...ind_the_gap.php

Walter Smith made a considerate and compelling case in defence of his beleaguered counterpart, Gordon Strachan. In a season scattered with ludicrous conspiracy theories and paranoid delusions, the Rangers manager's refreshing departure from traditional protocol might be regarded among some of Celtic's most angst-ridden supporters to be killing his counterpart with compliments.

Smith has never been a disciple of the dark art of psychology, even if his careers has been inextricably linked with two masters of the mind game, Jim McLean and Sir Alex Ferguson. Smith has emerged a stronger, wiser and more relaxed manager for almost a decade's worth of exposure to the unforgiving pressure and expectations of Old Firm life during the bountiful 1990s. The strain of his final season first time around, when a wabbit group of warhorses fell at the final hurdle to a record-breaking 10 successive championships, makes him part of an exclusive minority who can relate to the siege mentality adopted by Strachan.

Anything other than a home win at Celtic Park this evening will almost certainly result in Strachan's men relinquishing the title after two years of domination. In the myopic existence of Old Firm life, second prize is tantamount to the wooden spoon. None the less, Smith was insistent that tonight's task will be as daunting as any thrown their way throughout an enduring European campaign, with the exception of Barcelona and their sumptuous skills.

advertisement

He believes Celtic are as good as the champions of France and Germany, Olympique Lyonnias and VfB Stuttgart, both of which he encountered in the Champions League.

"I think Celtic, in my mind, are equal to the majority of the teams we have played in Europe this year, maybe with the exception of Barcelona," he said. "Werder Bremen were excellent but after that, I think Celtic are equal to any of them, so we will have to turn in a performance equal or better than anything we have managed in Europe to achieve anything.

"The situation Celtic are in gets exaggerated. We set out to provide a challenge and that's what we have done but because we have won a couple of games on our ground, the whole thing gets exaggerated. That's my opinion and before anybody says I am trying to use psychology, it is what I believe to be the case."

He stopped short of any personal declaration of support from across the city - not even this more sterile era would permit such random acts of kindness - but Smith, who by definition will be complicit in any downfall, considers the examination of Strachan's suitability to be ill-conceived.

"I don't think he needs any sympathy from me or anyone else, but maybe he needs understanding from those on the outside," said Smith. "The assessments definitely come quicker, unless I am slowing down, than they were first time around, but the overall assessment isn't accurate.

"What we have to remember is that we aspire to have the kind of success Celtic have had for the past couple of years. They have already had titles and qualification for the knockout stages of the Champions League. That's what we have to aspire to. Everybody can think what they like and make their own opinions, but I think Celtic are a really good team."

Having explored the European similarities, Smith will adopt the same functional strategy that has sustained Rangers as far as a UEFA Cup semi-final against Fiorentina and possibly beyond.

Kevin Thomson, the matchwinner at Ibrox in the previous derby, is absent through suspension but the manager has an abundance of options to fulfil his 4-1-4-1 formula.

Christian Dailly is most likely to revert to the holding midfield role, having looked uncomfortable as a more creative influence against Partick Thistle.

The real selection dilemma is how best to minimise the effectiveness of Celtic's most threatening asset, Aiden McGeady. Kirk Broadfoot, who has enjoyed an unexpectedly efficient season as a first-team regular, has had his confidence dented by recent exposure to the Irish internationalist.

Smith may elect to persevere with Broadfoot's superior defensive attributes but add Steven Whittaker to provide an extra layer of production, complemented by his attacking prowess, on the right side of midfield. That would enable Steven Davis to return to his more productive central beat alongside Barry Ferguson, with Lee McCulloch completing the midfield quintet.

Ferguson's ongoing injury toil - a long-standing ankle ailment that requires painkilling injections - is not a major consideration for Smith as he ponders the captain's supporting cast. "We do not need to compensate for it," he said. "It doesn't really inhibit him once he gets going.

Celtic's last win against Rangers may have occurred 19 months ago but Smith discounts the significance of past Old Firm achievement. "They never count," he said. "It's cliched, but Old Firm games stand on their own because there are different pressures at different times. We will be going to try to win the game because there is still a lot of football to go.

"We have shown a good attitude throughout the season and maybe now anticipation comes into it. We have shown all season we have the desire to do well in our remaining game."

Rangers' advantage of four points and two games in hand over the defending champions will not alter his thinking, nor will the tantalising prospect of a UEFA Cup final force a reconsideration of priorities.

"What do you do as a manager?" he asked rhetorically. "Do you concentrate on one competition to the detriment of the other? What happens if you lose the one you have focused on and do not get the other? You end up with none. You have to concentrate on the games as they come along.

It is dangerous to look too far ahead."

Smith finished with a mild rebuke for Artur Numan. The former Rangers defender, in helping promote Setanta Sports' live coverage, suggested Rangers could afford to lose at Celtic Park and still prevail. Such talk provoked a withering response from the manager. "If he wants to stand on the terraces and say that, fine, but it's just not right."

© All rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part without permission is prohibited.

Link to post
Share on other sites

© All rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part without permission is prohibited

Ooopppsss !!! lol

I think that is a great article, shows dignity & respect where others have shown none but also shows a determination that convinces you we can do everything this season.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Guest Andypendek

well put. i do believe we have a man who can handle the ups and downs for a good 10 years to come...i value stability above all else at a football club, we are likely to have that and its a bonus that the man who will give us stability just happens to be a shit hot manager.

Link to post
Share on other sites

theres a million miles between smith n strachan when it comes to press conferences and interviews and just talking in general. did you see strapon the day on the news started acting like a daft wee boy. lol funny as fuck.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Smith is an intelligent speaker, thinks things through whereas Strachan is not. Its dummies oot the pram with Strachan, he embarrasses himself in interviews. Thats why they want him out.

Personally, I hope he stays :)

Link to post
Share on other sites

Like the bit at the end in ref to Numan. Well said!

Yeah that is good, that cunt is a whore ! Hanging about lookin for crusts from the mhedia on the strength of Rangers name. :sherlock:

speak your mind BLUE :lol:

Can't help it Coops just an old soldier at heart mate ! ;):sherlock:

Link to post
Share on other sites

Like the bit at the end in ref to Numan. Well said!

Yeah that is good, that cunt is a whore ! Hanging about lookin for crusts from the mhedia on the strength of Rangers name. :sherlock:

speak your mind BLUE :lol:

Can't help it Coops just an old soldier at heart mate ! ;):sherlock:

Dinnae dis the Numan, Walt was just putting things in their place, working for the media is always a bit of whoredom but so's working for Subway sandwiches Numan will always be a legendary player for us, he deserves a wee return.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Like the bit at the end in ref to Numan. Well said!

Yeah that is good, that cunt is a whore ! Hanging about lookin for crusts from the mhedia on the strength of Rangers name. :sherlock:

speak your mind BLUE :lol:

Can't help it Coops just an old soldier at heart mate ! ;):sherlock:

Dinnae dis the Numan, Walt was just putting things in their place, working for the media is always a bit of whoredom but so's working for Subway sandwiches Numan will always be a legendary player for us, he deserves a wee return.

No bigger whores than the journos mate in fact I apologise to whores for talking about them in the same breath. And Numan was no legend mate, took out more than he put in. :sherlock:

Link to post
Share on other sites

Dinnae dis the Numan, Walt was just putting things in their place, working for the media is always a bit of whoredom but so's working for Subway sandwiches Numan will always be a legendary player for us, he deserves a wee return.

No bigger whores than the journos mate in fact I apologise to whores for talking about them in the same breath. And Numan was no legend mate, took out more than he put in. :sherlock:

I concur, business doesn't mix easily with art and sport but there you go

Link to post
Share on other sites

I also agree.

Ive been in Numans company many times and very nice, generous man he is but Rangers legend he is not. Good player, but no legend.

He left beacuse Rangers were only offering him 15 grand a week - been there about 5 years and spent a total of 2 years injured when you add it all up. You either love the club or you dont - Numan did love the club but he wanted to have his cake and eat it (so to speak)

Link to post
Share on other sites

Guest
This topic is now closed to further replies.
  • Upcoming Events

    • 17 April 2024 19:00 Until 21:00
      0  
      Dundee v Rangers
      The Scot Foam Stadium at Dens Park
      Scottish Premiership
      Live on Sky Sports Main Event and Sky Sports Main Event HD
×
×
  • Create New...