The obvious mutual respect between Glasgow Rangers manager Walter Smith and Sir Alex Ferguson has existed for many years and will remain strong irrespective of what happens at Ibrox on Wednesday night. Smith spent a short time as Ferguson’s assistant at Old Trafford back in 2004 and the Champions League clash will be the tenth meeting between the two. It’s also likely to be the last as Smith plans to quit Rangers at the end of the season. When asked about Ferguson by the Telegraph Sport on the weekend Smith simply responded by saying “Is he the best? I don’t think that there’s any doubt about that – but I wouldn’t tell him.
“To stay in the one place and continually build great teams is a remarkable achievement, phenomenal” he continued “Sir Alex has reached the stage of his life where he can’t live without it, whether it’s praise or aggravation. Other managers would have seen the Wayne Rooney situation as a problem but he would see it as a challenge. He looks upon everything as a challenge and meets them all head on.”
When questioned about his planned retirement the Rangers boss admitted that “there will be a whole load of things that I’ll miss but the only thing I’m bothering about on Wednesday is that we do well. Everything else is irrelevant. Sir Alex said that he was too old to retire but I’m young enough. Each person has different circumstances to handle when they’re making that decision” he said.
Smith remembers when his old mate himself had made similar plans “He was the same age I am now when he announced that he was going to quit.” he recalls “my boys were talking about my retirement the other night and I said ‘You keep talking about me as though I’m going to vanish off the face off the earth.’ All I said was that I’m leaving Rangers and then everyone started using the word ‘retirement’ simply because of my age but I never spoke about retiring. I only said that I was leaving here, and that is the case.”
“However, if retirement means going golfing with my mates then fine, I can listen to that Champions League music in the house” he said. Smith has been unable to record a victory over Sir Alex in any of their previous meetings. Ferguson will be hoping that the Glasgow clash will not produce the first.
Will United get the point they need at Ibrox?