Walter Smith: Rangers fans gather outside Ibrox to pay tribute to legendary former manager

Rangers fans came together outside Ibrox Stadium on Wednesday night to pay respects to their former boss Walter Smith. 

Smith, 73, died in hospital on Tuesday and Rangers’ first game since his passing was dominated by tributes to one of their greatest ever managers.

Hundreds of shirts from Smith’s time in charge were laid outside the ground as well as dozens of bouquets of flowers, accompanied by emotional messages of condolence from supporters. 

Prior to kick-off a minute’s silence was observed by both sets of players and coaches, as well as the sell-out crowd inside Ibrox. 

A large banner at one end of the ground also paid tribute to Smith and the legacy he leaves at the Glasgow club. It read: ‘For deeds done and glories won, thank you Walter.’ 

Earlier on Wednesday Rangers manager Steven Gerrard, his assistant Gary McAllister, as well as players Steven Davis, Allan McGregor, James Tavernier and Douglas Park, arrived in suits to lay a wreath in memory of Smith. 

The card on the wreath read: ‘To the Smith family, I am really sorry for your loss on behalf of me and my staff. 

The grounds outside Rangers’ Ibrox stadium was dominated by floral tributes, as well as scarves and shirts, to the club’s iconic former manager Walter Smith after he died aged 73

Rangers fans have been left devastated by Smith's passing this week and looked to pay tribute

Rangers fans have been left devastated by Smith’s passing this week and looked to pay tribute

A minute's silence was held before kick-off on Wednesday and a banner was held in his honour

A minute’s silence was held before kick-off on Wednesday and a banner was held in his honour

A photo of Smith appeared on the big screen as well as 'always remembered' on the ad boards

A photo of Smith appeared on the big screen as well as ‘always remembered’ on the ad boards

He won 21 major trophies with Rangers during his two spells with the Ibrox side as manager

He won 21 major trophies with Rangers during his two spells with the Ibrox side as manager

‘I want to send our condolences. He was a huge support to us all. He will be sorely missed. Lots of love, Steven Gerrard.’ 

Celtic chairman, Ian Bankier, CEO Michael Nicholson and Celtic ambassador, Tom Boyd laid a wreath of their own outside Ibrox in tribute to Smith. 

Smith was best known for his storming spell at Rangers where he dominated the league with 10 titles as a manager over two spells.

He also spent time in charge at Everton, taking over at Goodison Park between 1998 and 2002. 

In a statement on Tuesday morning Rangers said: ‘It is with profound sadness that we announce the passing of our former manager, chairman and club legend, Walter Smith.’

Rangers manager Steven Gerrard (left) and his assistant Gary McAllister (right) laid a wreath

Rangers manager Steven Gerrard (left) and his assistant Gary McAllister (right) laid a wreath

Gerrard's wreath was accompanied by a note of condolence to the Smith family

Gerrard’s wreath was accompanied by a note of condolence to the Smith family

Club chairman Douglas Park added: ‘On behalf of the Rangers board of directors, staff and players, I convey my deep condolences to the Smith family. 

‘Walter leaves behind a wife, children and grandchildren, all of whom are in our thoughts and prayers at this difficult time.

‘It is almost impossible to encapsulate what Walter meant to every one of us at Rangers. He embodied everything that a Ranger should be. 

‘His character and leadership was second to none, and will live long in the memory of everyone he worked with during his two terms as first team manager.

‘I spoke with Walter as recently as last weekend. Even when he was battling illness, he was still able to provide advice and support. 

Fans made their way to the stadium throughout the day to pay their respects to Smith

Fans made their way to the stadium throughout the day to pay their respects to Smith

It proved an emotional affair at Ibrox on Wednesday night for the game against Aberdeen

It proved an emotional affair at Ibrox on Wednesday night for the game against Aberdeen 

‘For that, I am personally grateful. I know that he continued also to maintain dialogue with senior members of staff, including our manager, Steven Gerrard. Walter will be sorely missed by all of us at Rangers.’

Rangers held a minute’s silence in tribute to Smith.

They tweeted a photograph of club players and staff bowing their heads on the training pitch, with the caption: ‘A minute’s silence in memory of our former manager, chairman and club legend, Walter Smith.’ 

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