ON Walter Smith’s return to the club in 2007 for a second spell in charge he needed no introduction to the club’s fervent support.

A fan of the Light Blues himself as a boy, he grew up in Carmyle but never got a chance to make it as a player at Ibrox.

Instead, he enjoyed a modest career at Dundee United, joining them initially in the 1960s whilst finishing his apprenticeship as an electrician.

After a brief spell at Dumbarton, Smith returned to Tannadice and it was there he began to make his name as a coach.

His playing days were first threatened when he was 29 and a pelvic injury limited him to reserve games alongside future Gers captain Richard Gough with the Arabs.

At the same time, Smith learned how to guide the professionals he was charged with by legendary manager Jim McLean.

The progress he made on Tayside didn’t go unnoticed and he soon became coach of the Scotland youth team.

In turn, Smith led the side to success at the 1982 European Youth Championship and he was to later work with the under-21s and the full side at the 1986 World Cup in Mexico.

His first national role went in conjunction with promotion to the post of assistant manager at United and they went on to win their first championship in 1983.

Smith was an important cog in the tangerine machine but he couldn’t resist a move to Rangers when the opportunity to switch came his way in 1986.

Recruited by new Light Blues boss Graeme Souness as his deputy, he went from strength to strength in tandem with the club closest to his heart.

As a pair, the management shared three league titles but when Souness left for Liverpool with five games of the 1990/91 campaign left, it was left for Smith to pick up the mantle.

He did so in some style, guiding the side he inherited to a last-day league triumph against Aberdeen before winning six more top-flight successes as his own man.

Smith made some iconic signings during his first tenure in Govan, with Paul Gascoigne and Brian Laudrup the two who stand out most.

That’s not to say they overshadowed the rest. Quite the contrary, in fact, as an unrelenting team ethic was the key to Smith completing the club’s historic run of nine titles in a row.

While Gascoigne and Laudrup were seen as world-class talents, the likes of Ally McCoist, Andy Goram, Stuart McCall and Mark Hateley brought as much to the table.

McCoist was probably the player who symbolized Smith’s first reign more than any other.

Often listed as a substitute under Souness, the striker was shown faith by his new manager and he repaid that with two European Golden Boots.

It wasn’t just championships that Smith won in his first spell at Rangers. Indeed, his first full campaign brought the Scottish Cup too.

The following year, the Light Blues went one better as they retained both trophies and added the League Cup to their collection.

That season in particular, the 1992/93 term, was outstanding for Smith and his men as they impressed just as much in Europe.

In the inaugural Champions League group phase, they came within 90 minutes of reaching a first European Cup final and went 44 matches unbeaten in all competitions.

It would take something special to eclipse that but Smith somehow did it, winning the ninth successive title at his old Tannadice stomping ground in May 1997.

It was in the summer which followed that dramatic night that the manager decided his time at Rangers should come to an end.

In October 1997, it was announced as the club’s annual meeting that Smith had chosen to retire the following May and the race for a record 10th consecutive championship was on.

It sadly never came and Gers finished as runners-up to Celtic instead but nobody had won so much in such a short time at Ibrox as Smith.

He left with his head held high and took the reins at Premiership side Everton, a position he held for almost five years.

After Goodison came Scotland and Smith was named as Berti Vogts’ replacement at the Scotland helm in December 2004.

He made a bigger impact than he could have hoped for, taking his team 70 places up the FIFA rankings and beating World Cup finalists France along the way.

With his stock at its highest point for some time, Rangers moved quickly for Smith when Paul Le Guen’s spell in charge of the club came to an end.

Although his men finished the 2006/07 season without a trophy, the following campaign was unforgettable as they came so close to landing an unprecedented quadruple.

The League Cup and Scottish Cup were both claimed with respective victories against United and Queen of the South.

The UEFA Cup and SPL were almost brought back to Glasgow’s south side too but a backlog of fixtures ultimately cost Gers both prizes.

Nevertheless, it was an incredible period and no mean feat for the team to reach their first European final in 36 years against Zenit St Petersburg after a 19-game continental run.

Rangers made up for their league agony with success in the SPL the following year and added to it by retaining the Scottish Cup against Falkirk.

The following season, 2009/10, saw the club again bag the title, this time romping to the success with three games to spare.

It was another double for the manager too as he secured a truly remarkable League Cup success when he masterminded a Hampden win despite the loss of two players.

Red cards for Danny Wilson and Kevin Thomson left his team down to nine men against St Mirren but Kenny Miller scored a wonderful header to secure a memorable 19th trophy for Smith over his two spells.

He wasn’t finished there though, and despite a lack of money to spend on increasing his squad Smith again made Rangers a competitive group in the 2010/11 season.

The League Cup was won for the third time in four seasons with an injury time victory over Celtic thanks to a winning goal from star player Nikica Jelavic.

Smith would then take his final tally to 21 trophies as Rangers boss as his side clinched a final day SPL win in the manager’s last match in charge of the club he loves.

He returned to the club as a non-executive director before assuming the role of Chairman before stepping down in August 2013.