Ally McCoist hailed Walter Smith as a “second father” while Scotland captain Andy Robertson mourned “a man of wisdom, dignity and integrity” following the former Rangers manager’s death aged 73.
Former striker McCoist, who was a key player during Smith’s hugely successful first reign at the Ibrox helm and was assistant manager for his second stint, spoke of his devastation soon after the Scottish club announced the news on Tuesday.
He told talkSPORT: “He means everything to a lot of folk. He was my boss, my coach, my second father and then turned into one of my best friends.
“The loss is absolutely incredible.
“The good thing is he’s not in pain. I went to see Walter recently, I spoke to him at the weekend and we knew that it would be a matter of time. But it still does not take away the pain and the grief.
“I could sit here and tell you about Walter Smith until the cows come home, but what I will say he was the best husband, father, friend, everything you want from a man.
“I can’t tell you how devastated I am.”
Liverpool defender Robertson expressed his heartbreak while Reds and Celtic great Sir Kenny Dalglish paid tribute to “a truly great man”.
Robertson tweeted: “Thoughts, prayers and condolences with Walter Smith’s family and loved ones today.
“Heartbreaking to lose another great of Scottish football.
“A man of wisdom, dignity and integrity who’s legacy will live on. May he rest in peace.”
Dalglish posted: “Marina and my heartfelt sympathies are with Walter’s wife Ethel & his boys.
“Though we were on opposing sides on the pitch, he was a real footballing friend off of it.
“He was respected by all and one of the few able to transcend rivalries. Today we have lost a truly great man. RIP”