Walter Smith rules out staying at Gers in a footballing role

Walter Smith will not remain at Ibrox as director of football under a new Rangers owner.

Reports emerged yesterday morning that Scottish tycoon Craig Whyte, who has reached an agreement "in principle" to buy the Govan club from Sir David Murray, would offer Smith such a role or invite him on to the board when he steps down as boss at the end of the season to be replaced by his assistant Ally McCoist.

The former Scotland boss is in Turkey for Rangers' final Champions League Group C game against Bursaspor tonight and at the club's Celik Palas Hotel base he was quizzed about the possibility of staying on at the club. "It certainly wouldn't be in any sort of footballing position," he said. "I wouldn't do that. Whatever opportunities come my way, we'll just have to wait and see. I will wait until the end of the season. I finish at the end of the season so that's where we are at the present moment."

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Rangers cannot qualify for the knockout stages of the Champions League and will have to be content with a place in the Europa League in the new year.

Victory will help in the club's bid to be seeded in the last 32 of that competition and will also bring a welcome 750,000 in prize money. More importantly for Scottish football as a whole, three points will help the country's co-efficient which has dropped so low that only this season's Clydesdale Bank Premier League champions will get access to the Champions League and that will be through the qualifiers.

However, the former Everton manager refused to join the pessimists who believe the Champions League will be without a Tartan flavour for the foreseeable future. He said: "I think we will always have one team there. The fact that we have to qualify obviously makes it a bit more difficult which is why the co-efficient part is important. But I don't think the gloom and doom which is surrounding it at the moment is entirely correct. You would hope that whichever of the Scottish teams played would have a decent chance of getting through the qualifying rounds and into the Champions League."

Rangers have taken five points from five games while Bursaspor are still looking for their first point in their debut Champions League campaign, as Manchester United and Valencia fight it out for top spot.

Smith believes his side might have had a chance of making the last 16 with a little more luck. He said: "We feel we have been a little bit unfortunate in a couple of games. We might have won against Valencia at home and given us the extra points and the opportunity to get to the last 16 but it wasn't to be. We have to look at the campaign and say that we played better than we did last season and getting European football after Christmas is a big thing for us. I think it will be a good game.We want to finish with a good result.

"For Bursaspor, the Champions League hasn't gone the way they would have hoped and obviously this gives them an opportunity to atone for one or two poor results. They will want to try and win the game in front of their own support so I think we will see a good game."