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Walter Smith: Rangers fans gather outside Ibrox to pay tribute to legendary former manager

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Thousands of Rangers fans gather outside Ibrox stadium to pay tribute to legendary former manager Walter Smith as wreaths, scarves and shirts are laid ahead of the game in Aberdeen

  • Rangers paid tribute to their legendary manager Walter Smith on Wednesday
  • Steven Gerrard’s squad hosted Aberdeen in their first game since Smith’s death
  • Thousands of supporters gathered before the match to pay tribute to the ex-boss
  • Condolence messages and old shirts and scarves were placed in memory

Rangers fans gathered outside Ibrox Stadium on Wednesday night to pay their respects to their former boss Walter Smith.

Smith, 73, died in hospital on Tuesday and Rangers’ first game since his passing was dominated by tributes to one of their greatest managers ever.

Hundreds of Smith-era shirts were laid out, as well as dozens of bouquets of flowers, accompanied by emotional condolences from supporters.

A minute’s silence was observed prior to kick-off by both players and coaches, as well as by the sold-out crowd at Ibrox.

A large banner at one end of the ground also paid tribute to Smith and the legacy he leaves at the Glasgow club.

Earlier on Wednesday, Rangers manager Steven Gerrard, his assistant Gary McAllister, as well as players Steven Davis, Allan McGregor, James Tavernier and Douglas Park arrived in suits to lay a wreath in memory of Smith.

The card on the wreath read: “To the Smith family, I am sorry on behalf of myself and my staff for your loss.

The grounds outside Rangers’ Ibrox stadium were dominated by floral arrangements, scarves and shirts, for the club’s iconic former manager, Walter Smith, after he died at the age of 73.

Rangers fans are devastated by Smith's passing this week and wanted to pay tribute

Rangers fans are devastated by Smith’s passing this week and wanted to pay tribute

On Wednesday, a minute of silence was held before kick-off and a banner was hung in his honor

On Wednesday, a minute of silence was held before kick-off and a banner was hung in his honor

“I want to convey our condolences. He was a huge support to all of us. He will be sorely missed. Much love, Steven Gerrard.’

Celtic chairman, Ian Bankier, CEO Michael Nicholson and Celtic ambassador, Tom Boyd laid their own wreath outside Ibrox in tribute to Smith.

Smith was best known for his rush at Rangers, where he dominated the league with 10 titles as manager over two spells.

He also spent time at Everton, where he took over from Goodison Park between 1998 and 2002.

In a statement on Tuesday morning, Rangers said: “It is with deep sadness that we announce the passing of our former manager, chairman and club legend, Walter Smith.”

Rangers manager Steven Gerrard (left) and his assistant Gary McAllister (right) laid a wreath

Rangers manager Steven Gerrard (left) and his assistant Gary McAllister (right) laid a wreath

Gerrard's wreath was accompanied by a letter of condolence to the Smith family

Gerrard’s wreath was accompanied by a letter of condolence to the Smith family

Club president Douglas Park added: “On behalf of the Rangers board of directors, staff and players, I express my deepest condolences to the Smith family.

“Walter leaves behind a wife, children and grandchildren, all of whom are in our thoughts and prayers at this difficult time.

“It’s almost impossible to grasp what Walter meant to all of us at Rangers. He embodied everything a Ranger should be.

His character and leadership were second to none and will long be remembered by everyone he has worked with during his two terms as first team manager.

“I spoke to Walter last weekend. Even as he struggled with illness, he was still able to provide advice and support.

Fans flocked to the stadium all day to pay their respects to Smith

Fans flocked to the stadium all day to pay their respects to Smith

It turned out to be an emotional affair at Ibrox on Wednesday evening before the game against Aberdeen

It turned out to be an emotional affair at Ibrox on Wednesday evening before the game against Aberdeen

‘I am personally grateful to him for that. I know he also continued to engage with senior staff, including our manager, Steven Gerrard. Walter will be sorely missed by all of us at Rangers.”

Rangers held a minute of silence in Smith’s honor.

They tweeted a photo of club players and staff bowing their heads on the training ground, with the caption: “A minute’s silence in memory of our former manager, chairman and club legend, Walter Smith.”

More to follow.

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