Steven Gerrard pays tribute to influence of Rangers icon Walter Smith as he closes in on Premiership title

Being able to call on the experience and advice of someone who played a major role in almost a quarter of Rangers’ previous 54 title triumphs has been a precious asset for Steven Gerrard in his quest for number 55.

Walter Smith celebrates winning Rangers' 54th league title at Rugby Park in May 2011. (Photo by Alan Harvey/SNS Group).
Walter Smith celebrates winning Rangers' 54th league title at Rugby Park in May 2011. (Photo by Alan Harvey/SNS Group).

As he closes in on clinching that cherished crown as Rangers manager, Gerrard has paid a heartfelt tribute to the man he has regarded as his mentor since taking the job.

Walter Smith was involved in 13 title wins for the Ibrox club - three as assistant-manager to Graeme Souness and then 10 over two spells in charge himself. The 73-year-old maintains a passionate and close interest in Rangers which has seen him exert an informal but telling influence in the form of wise counsel to Gerrard.

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“Walter is someone I have the utmost respect for,” reflects Gerrard. “He is an iconic figure at this club, a successful manager.

“It is an unofficial mentorship, if you like - I don’t even think Walter knows he is doing it.

“I’ve had the pleasure of his company around lockdown, it’s been more difficult during lockdown.

“But he is someone I have spoken to a lot on the phone. He has a real connection with the League Managers’ Association and has been a big help to me.

“I bounce a lot of stuff off him and he always has plenty of time for me and my coaches. So I don’t even think he knows he is being a mentor but he has been fantastic for me.”

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