Football: Smith welcomes Advocaat

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WALTER SMITH yesterday sent his best wishes to Dick Advocaat, the man who will succeed him in the manager's chair at Ibrox on 1 July.

Smith is stepping down from the Rangers hot seat at the end of the season, although he may remain in another position.

Advocaat's decision to leave PSV Eindhoven in May was confirmed on Monday and Smith has warmed to the appointment: "He has a lot of respect in European coaching circles," Smith said. "He has the reputation of being an extremely good organiser of players in a technical sense.

"He is coming to a great club. Maybe I am a bit biased, and why not, because I have been a Rangers supporters all my life.

"The set-up under David Murray at Ibrox is incredible. Everything is in place and I hope Dick can take us a stage further in our progress."

Celtic could thank their goalkeeper Jonathan Gould for their contunued progress in the Tennents Scottish Cup on Monday night. In the 2-1 victory at Dunfermline Gould produced a contender for save of the season. In front of the watching Scotland manager Craig Brown, Gould's heroics mean he is now in firm contention for a B international place against his father's team, Wales, on 24 March in Cumbernauld.

Plucked from reserve team football at Bradford City for a nominal fee, Gould has established himself as first choice at Parkhead and been awarded a long-term deal.

His crucial save at East End Park came with the score 0-0 on the half- hour. Stewart Petrie's cross from the right picked out Andy Tod for a free header and the defender's powerful connection sent the ball goalwards at pace.

"It was the first thing I had to do all match," Gould said. "I just tried to make sure I got across from the near post back to cover the header and just managed to get my feet to it."

The instinctive stop was virtually the last moment of action for Gould with Stephane Mahe and Harald Brattbakk putting Celtic 2-0 up in the second- half.

But for Gould, who kept a clean sheet throughout Celtic's march to the Coca-Cola Cup, there was a late blow as David Bingham scored to make it 2-1.

"When we were going off at the end, Tom Boyd reminded me that was the first Cup goal we have conceded this season, which was nice of him to point out," Gould said.