Welcome to the new Independent website. We hope you enjoy it and we value your feedback. Please contact us here.


Alex McLeish: Walter Smith appointment great for Rangers


Alex McLeish has described Walter Smith's appointment to the board of Rangers as a “perfect fit”.

Rangers announced on Sunday evening that former manager Smith and retired Glasgow businessman Ian Hart had accepted the role of non-executive directors.

The moves come five months after Smith tried to lead a bid to buy out Green's consortium, who purchased the business and assets of Rangers for £5.5million after they were consigned to liquidation in the summer.

Green rebuffed those attempts and instead tried to persuade Smith to join his group.

Now he has succeeded and McLeish, who was boss at Ibrox from 2001 to 2006, believes it is "fantastic news".

McLeish said: "It just seems a perfect fit for Walter Smith to be part of Rangers. Not only his business acumen, but his football brain is a great asset to the football club.

"I know that he won't interfere with Coisty (manager Ally McCoist), but I'm sure Coisty will be chapping on his door and he's probably been doing it the last year or so that he's been in the role.

"I don't know Charles Green. He seems to be making all the right noises.

"There's some progress there. Walter Smith taking one of the roles will be fantastic news for Rangers fans."

Meanwhile, another of McLeish's former clubs are making progress, with Hibernian top of the Clydesdale Bank Premier League, just a few months after a humiliating 5-1 William Hill Scottish Cup final loss to city rivals Hearts and after two seasons of toil.

"It's a surprise that they're at the top of the league," McLeish said.

"I watched the cup final and having had an attachment with Hibs was as disappointed as the Hibs fans.

"It was great for them to get to the final, probably a little bit ahead of their time, but the manner of the defeat was heavy and it's there forever in the history books."

McLeish believes giving Pat Fenlon time as manager was key to the turnaround.

Asked if Hibs can maintain their current position and stay in touch with Celtic, McLeish added: "They're playing good football just now and when your guys are on the crest of a wave, you feel you can keep doing it. Confidence will play a major part in it."

* Alex McLeish was speaking at a Positive Coaching Scotland (PCS) "Success through Effort: Mastery Coaching" seminar at Hampden Park.

PCS is a cultural change programme designed to create a positive environment for young people in football by teaching them to appreciate the value of effort and learning. Join Scotland captain Darren Fletcher and show your support for the principles of the programme by signing up to the PCS Pledge at http://www.scottishfa.co.uk