Alan Shearer leads tributes to Walter Smith following his death

Former Celtic star Chris Sutton leads the tributes to ‘true gentleman’ Walter Smith – the legendary ex-manager of rivals Rangers – after his death aged 73… while close friend Ally McCoist hails him as a ‘second father’

  • Former Scotland and Rangers manager Walter Smith has died aged 73 

Former Celtic forward Chris Sutton has led tributes to Walter Smith, describing the former Rangers boss as a ‘true gentleman’ after he passed away at the age of 73.

The Ibrox club announced the death of their former manager – who won 10 league titles as boss over two spells and who also managed Scotland – on Tuesday.

And Sportsmail columnist Sutton was among the first to send out his thoughts to the family of the former Everton boss.

Sutton posted: ‘Really sad news to hear of the passing of Walter Smith. He was a true gentleman. Thoughts and prayers go out to Walter’s family.’

Ex-Newcastle stars Alan Shearer, Shay Given and Joey Barton also paid their respects to Sir Alex Ferguson’s former assistant.

Alan Shearer has led touching tributes to Walter Smith after he passed away at the age of 73

Midfielder Barton added: ‘RIP Walter. Great man,’ while former striker Shearer simply wrote: ‘RIP Legend’.

Former goalkeeper Given meanwhile posted: ‘Sad news about the passing of Walter Smith, A great football man, thoughts and prayers with his family and friends.’

Speaking shortly after the news of Smith’s tragic passing broke, Ally McCoist said he was ‘devastated’ by the loss and hailed him as a ‘second father’. 

‘He means everything to a lot of folk. He was my boss, my coach, my second father and then turned into one of my best friends,’ McCoist said on talkSPORT. 

Ally McCoist (centre) hailed Smith (left) as a ‘second father’ and also said he is ‘devastated’

‘The loss is absolutely incredible.

‘The good thing is he’s not in pain. I went to see Walter recently, I spoke to him at the weekend and we knew that it would be a matter of time. But it still does not take away the pain and the grief.

‘I could sit here and tell you about Walter Smith until the cows come home, but what I will say he was the best husband, father, friend, everything you want from a man.

‘I can’t tell you how devastated I am.’

The iconic Smith won 10 league titles as boss over two illustrious spells in charge of Rangers

Smith took charge at Goodison Park from 1998 to 2002, and his ex-Toffees forward Kevin Campbell wrote: ‘R.I.P. Walter Smith you were such a great man and I can’t thank you enough for bringing me to a true football great.’

Meanwhile, the Premier League club themselves posted: ‘A very sad day for football. Walter Smith OBE, former Rangers, Scotland and Everton manager, has passed away. A man held in high regard by all his players.

‘Our thoughts are with Walter’s loved ones at this tough time.’

Liverpool and Scotland left back Andy Robertson also paid his respects, admitting he has been left ‘heartbroken’ by the news.

‘Thoughts, prayers and condolences with Walter Smith’s family and loved ones today,’ the defender wrote.

‘Heart-breaking to lose another great of Scottish football. A man of wisdom, dignity and integrity whose legacy will live on. May he rest in peace.’

‘So sad to hear of the passing of Walter Smith,’ former Everton defender Alan Stubbs has tweeted.

‘Will always be so grateful to him for giving me a chance to fulfil my dream!! RIP Gaffer.’

Kenny Dalglish, another legendary Scotsman, took to Twitter to write: ‘Marina and my heartfelt sympathies are with Walter’s wife Ethel & his boys. 

‘Though we were on opposing sides on the pitch, he was a real footballing friend off of it. He was respected by all and one of the few able to transcend rivalries. Today we have lost a truly great man. RIP.’ 

Gary Neville, who played under Smith in 2004 during his spell as assistant manager at Manchester United, said: ‘Terribly sad news about Walter Smith.’

United themselves have also paid a touching tribute. 

‘Everyone at Manchester United is deeply saddened to hear of the passing of Walter Smith,’ they said. 

‘Our thoughts and prayers are with Walter’s friends and family at this extremely difficult time.’

Smith worked alongside Ferguson for a season, helping United to win the FA Cup. 

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