Former Rangers boss Walter Smith has urged Charles Green to pause to think before he speaks in future on the day the Rangers chief executive was issued with two disciplinary notices by the Scottish Football Association for making comments of an offensive and racist nature.
• Charles Green has been warned he should be more careful about what he says in future by former Rangers boss Walter Smith
• Smith also defended Ally McCoist’s record, saying the Rangers manager deserves more credit
• Nine-in-a-row manager also opens up about speculation surrounding Ian Durrant and Kenny McDowall
On what was an awkward assignment for the former Rangers manager as he sought to publicise the forthcoming legends’ charity match between the Ibrox side and Manchester United, Smith, one of seven directors at the club, was questioned instead about Green’s conduct.
Recent revelations have put many Rangers fans on red alert again. It has emerged that Green allegedly agreed to receive a £25,000 payment from a business partner of former owner Craig Whyte in the early days of the current chief executive’s buyout of the club.
Green now faces legal action from Whyte after being accused of lying to the former owner in a bid to secure assets such as Murray Park following liquidation. Green also raised hackles within Ibrox by referring to the current Rangers team as “the worst in history”. As expected, Smith defended current manager Ally McCoist against such a claim, although he insisted McCoist doesn’t need his “sympathy”.
More serious are the comments that landed Green with a charge of bringing the game into disrepute yesterday. The chief executive has been issued with a notice of complaint for referring to Rangers business partner Imran Ahmad as his “little Paki friend” in an interview with a newspaper at the weekend.
“They [the comments] don’t sit that well with anyone who has been involved with Rangers over the years,” said Smith. However, he chose to be generous to Green in relation to his recent outbursts. “You’ve got to remember, Charles has come in, this is his first year,” said Smith. “He has come from England, where he might feel the situation is bigger and better than it is in Scotland and he has maybe forgotten that, in Scotland, Rangers, Celtic and the national team have massive coverage. In England, it’s mainly regional,” Smith added. “I’m sure a lot of the statements he has made to the present moment he would far rather have kept to himself. That’s not his type, it doesn’t seem to be the way he goes about things. I’m sure he’ll be far more careful in future.”
In what has become another turbulent period for the club, Smith assured fans that he will ask the questions they all want asked after further details about Green’s relationship with Whyte were uncovered, including the alleged payment into Green’s account.
Pressed on whether it might be a resigning issue for Smith, the former manager stressed that he would not be able to answer that question until he had the chance to ask some of his own. With several members of the Ibrox board currently unavailable to meet due to various commitments, Smith hoped they would have the chance to sit down together “shortly”. Again pressed on how shortly this might be, he added: “Bearing in mind the fact that I am not the chairman of the club, I don’t organise the meetings – they organise them for me.”
Smith added: “You can only do that [scrutinise finances] with the amount of information that’s available to you. Like everybody else, that only became apparent to me a week ago. So for me – like every other person – the information was just thrust upon us a week ago.”
He hoped that a meeting could be convened either this week or at the start of next week. When the directors do manage to gather around a table, Smith said that Green’s recent alleged racist comment would be “one of the aspects we would expect to cover”. Another aspect will be the recent claims about financial transactions between Green’s regime and Whyte. Asked whether Green had told him there was money from Whyte in a Rangers-related account, Smith said “no”. Again pressed about whether he felt he should have been informed of this, given his responsibilities as a non-executive director, Smith replied: “I think he possibly should have done, there’s a case, yes.”
Smith confirmed that he had not yet spoken with Green about it, and would do so at the appropriate time and place. “You have to give us the chance to ask the question. It takes a bit of time. I don’t represent the other directors; I represent myself. We have to be given a bit of time to make sure we ask the right questions and hopefully we can get the right answers.”
As for McCoist, Smith defended his record this season, admitting that some of the performances of other Third Division sides had surprised even him. “He doesn’t need any sympathy,” said Smith. “As I’ve stated previously, he’s had the hardest job of any Rangers manager in the history of the club. I don’t think that Alistair has had the credit that was due,” he added. “A lot of us – myself included – have been able to bring in a level of player that has helped us be successful, whereas that part of it is only just starting for Rangers now.
“This close season will be a big one for him – and the next close season as well – to try to get the standard of team up to what people would expect.”
Smith expressed the hope that McCoist will be given funds to spend on wages when the transfer embargo ends. “There has to be money made available so that the team can continue to improve,” he said. There has, though, been talk of further cost-cutting, with the positions of McCoist’s assistants, Ian Durrant and Kenny McDowall reported to be in doubt, on the back of the departure of Neil Murray, the club’s chief scout, last week.
Tickets for the match on 6 May between Rangers greats and Manchester United legends, with donations going to the Rangers Foundation and Unicef, will be available from today for season ticket holders and will go on public sale on 18 April. Public sale prices are £17 for adults, £13 for concessions and £5 for juveniles. Supporters can buy tickets online at www.rangers.co.uk or by calling 0871 702 1972.