Smith rules out Scotland return
Rangers manager Walter Smith has ruled himself out of the running to take charge of Scotland for a second time.
Smith had been the bookmakers' favourite to replace George Burley, who was sacked earlier this week following the 3-0 friendly defeat to Wales in Cardiff.
Smith, who left the national post during the Euro 2008 qualifying campaign, said: "We were in the middle of a qualifying campaign, and were trying to reach the European Championship. But, after making the decision to leave Scotland at that time, I don't feel it would be right to go back and that is the situation. The matter is now closed as far as I am concerned."
Smith, who was in charge of Scotland between December 2004 and January 2007 and is in the final weeks of his contract at Ibrox, told the Evening Times: "I'd like to stress I have never been offered the Scotland job again. I haven't spoken to anyone at the SFA. What I am doing is responding to press speculation in a bid to end it as I don't think it is fair on anyone.
"The fact is, I left the Scotland job of my own volition. Sometimes when you get the sack, it is actually easier to go back. But when you make your own decision to leave then it isn't that easy. So that is my stance. I thoroughly enjoyed my time as Scotland manager. It was a difficult decision at the time to leave and go back to Rangers."
With Smith ruling himself out of the running, Dundee United manager Craig Levein is favourite to succeed Burley. Smith may have no interest in returning to the national team helm but he still believes the Scotland job is an attractive prospect for someone else.
Speaking today at the pre-match press conference for tomorrow's game against Kilmarnock he said: "It is still an attractive job. We got a group of players together when I was the manager the last time and we don't think there has been a huge change since then. I don't really see that as a major problem."
On his decision to rule himself out of the running. Smith added: "It was not a matter of withdrawing my name because I don't know if I would be considered so it wasn't a case of turning down the job because no one has asked me.
"But there has been a great deal of speculation so I thought it was better to clarify the situation and that's what I have done. I enjoyed my time there before but I made a conscious decision to leave and it would not be right for me to go back."
Rangers fullback Steven Whittaker is relieved to hear that Smith is not about to quit the Scottish champions for a return to the national team.
He said: "The manager has been a big part of the success here since he came back to the club and the players are delighted that it looks like he is staying on. His name was always going to be put forward and the players will just have to deal with whatever decision he made. But we want to be successful again this season and it's great to have him as manager here."