Smith praises Rangers' collective effort as Weir picks up player of the year award

Walter Smith, the Rangers manager, and his captain David Weir may have been singled out for the Scottish Premier League's end-of-season awards, but Smith believes any one of the players in his dressing room would have been a worthwhile candidate.

Smith was named manager of the season at an awards ceremony in Glasgow on Monday night after taking the Scottish champions to within touching distance of a second successive title, which could be confirmed this weekend with a win at Hibernian or if Celtic lose to Dundee United earlier in the day.

Weir could be celebrating again next month after being shortlisted, along with team-mates Kris Boyd, Steven Davis and Andy Webster – on loan at United this season – for the Professional Footballers' Association Scotland player of the year.

Smith said: "It has been a real team effort, I don't think there is any doubt about that. We have a situation where we have a great number of players in our team who have played exceptionally well.

"We have a small group of players so we have had to rely on a lot of them to do well over the season. They have managed to do that for us and we are delighted that has been the case.

"I wouldn't say I'm surprised," Smith added. "When you have the same group year in, year out as we have had, a lot of the boys have been with us for about three years, and we know they can achieve a level of success.

"The only thing about this season was the fact that we worried about injuries and suspensions and other things affecting us. We have managed, so far, to get over that aspect of it and it leads us within inches of another championship. That's been a terrific thing for us, it's been a terrific performance by all the players at the club this season. Maybe one of the major benefits we have had is that we have been together for so long."

Smith believes another successful season has again justified his decision to quit as Scotland manager and return for a second spell at Ibrox three years ago. Reflecting on a campaign, which has been challenging amid ongoing uncertainty surrounding the club, he said: "It's one of the reasons I came to Rangers, you have an opportunity to gain a level of success.

"In the job I was in as Scotland manager, success would be qualifying for a major tournament. You get more opportunities if you are at a club like Rangers – and Celtic – to win things.

"I made that decision to come back and so far it has turned out OK. Obviously, it would be far better if we could clinch the championship again this season."

But Smith also warned making it a hat-trick of titles next season will be far more difficult if the club persists with the business plan agreed with Lloyds Bank.

He said: "Rangers have had periods of time in their history when they have gone a long while without winning championships and I would hope we won't be going back into that situation.

"This is an important time for Rangers because I don't think there is a full realisation of the exact impact the implementation of the plan currently agreed with the bank for next year will have. I can appreciate the reasons why the plan was put in place, but I'll never agree with it.

"If there is a continued downsizing, then it will impact on our ability to succeed at a time when we need to succeed. The financial people see the team winning the League Cup and with a good opportunity to win the league this season and they probably think whatever they do isn't going to have a major impact or be a damaging influence.

"Unfortunately, they don't realise just what it takes for an Old Firm team to be successful. We have handled it all right this season, but unless we get a little bit of help in terms of increasing our pool of players, it will be very difficult for us to recreate successful circumstances again.

"Under the current circumstances, next year will be extremely difficult. If nothing changes, if there is no buyout or anything like that, it will be an extremely difficult season for Rangers.

I won't say it would be impossible to win the title, but it would be extremely difficult to maintain a level of success."

Voices
On the last day of campaigning before the polling booths open, the SNP leader has written to voters in a final attempt to convince them to vote for independence
voicesIs a huge gamble on oil keeping the First Minister up at night?
Life and Style
techApple has just launched its latest mobile operating software – so what should you do first?
Arts and Entertainment
Pointless host Alexander Armstrong will voice Danger Mouse on CBBC
tv

Much-loved cartoon character returns - without Sir David Jason

Arts and Entertainment
Liam Neeson said he wouldn't
tv

Liam Neeson's Downton dreams

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Actor and director Zach Braff
tv

Arts and Entertainment
Rosalind Buckland, the inspiration for Cider with Rosie died this week
booksBut what is it like to be the person who inspires a classic work of art?
Arts and Entertainment
tv

Arts and Entertainment
The former Doctor Who actor is to play a vicar is search of a wife
film

Matt Smith is set to join cast of the Jane Austen classic - with a twist

Arts and Entertainment
Lionel Messi in action for Barcelona
filmWhat makes the little man tick?
Arts and Entertainment
Meera Syal was a member of the team that created Goodness Gracious Me
tv

Actress to appear in second series of the hugely popular crime drama

Arts and Entertainment
tvReview: An undercooked end (spoiler alert)
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Pharrell dismissed the controversy surrounding
musicThe singer said 'the last thing I want to do is degrade'
Sport
Cesc Fabregas celebrates his first Chelsea goal
footballChelsea vs Schalke match report
Arts and Entertainment
Toby Jones (left) and Mackenzie Crook in BBC4’s new comedy The Detectorists
tvMackenzie Crook's 'Detectorists' makes hobby look 'dysfunctional'
Life and Style
fashion

Olympic diver has made his modelling debut for Adidas

News
i100
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam
'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

Exclusive extract from Janis Winehouse's poignant new memoir
Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

The Imitation Game, film review
England and Roy Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption in Basel

England and Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption

Welbeck double puts England on the road to Euro 2016
Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Pictures removed from public view as courts decide ownership
‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

Donatella Versace at New York Fashion Week