Retiring Smith focused on title
Retiring Rangers manager Walter Smith says his only thoughts are on guiding his side to a third successive Scottish Premier League title as he bid an emotional farewell to Ibrox following a 2-0 win over Dundee United last night.
Smith watched on as Nikica Jelavic headed home his 18th goal of the season in the 21st minute before Kyle Lafferty scored for the third successive match four minutes later. Nerves showed in the second half as Rangers failed to build on their lead, but the result leaves Smith's side in pole position to clinch the title.
They are now just one win away from their third successive championship, although they could clinch it today if Celtic lose to Hearts at Tynecastle. The Gers manager has led his side to nine league championships, five Scottish Cups and six League Cups in two spells at the club.
But with his retirement imminent, Smith said rather than reflecting on past glories, he is concentrating on getting the win at Kilmarnock on Sunday that will let him leave on a high. "There will be plenty of time in the future for that. When we are going the way we are just now the focus is on trying to retain the championship again," the veteran said.
"As I have said in the past few weeks, I didn't think we would manage it and it is to the players' credit we have gotten ourselves into the situation we are in. We just have to see it out now and hopefully we can do so but we will have to play as well as we did do tonight to overcome Kilmarnock.
"Maybe on Sunday if we can do well again I will obviously feel it a little bit more knowing it is my last game. In the end we have the opportunity to clinch another championship. For any club to win three-in-a-row is always a great achievement. We've got the opportunity to do that.
Smith appreciated applause
"It's in our own hands, we can ask for no more than that and hopefully we can see that out. Everybody has to play for it. You saw in the second half of the game Dundee United came back into the match and there was a few nervy moments for us towards the end of the match so we will have to overcome that kind of thing on Sunday as well."
Smith did a lap of honour after the match against Dundee United as he said his goodbyes to the Ibrox crowd for the final time. "It was a nice reception and I thank everyone for that. It was great for as many people to stay behind and applaud in the manner that they did," he said. "I was delighted at that and I hope we get the same opportunity on Sunday.
"It is nice as when you are a manager, most of the time when you are leaving you've been sacked. You don't get clapped as a winner, you get thrown out. So when you do get the opportunity to go round and accept applause in that manner of course it becomes a bit emotional for you. Hopefully it will be a bit more emotional at the weekend."