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Gers confirm McCoist to succeed Smith

Rangers have confirmed that assistant manager Ally McCoist will take over from current boss Walter Smith when he retires at the end of the season.

McCoist, who scored 355 goals in 581 matches during a prolific playing career at Ibrox has been groomed as Smith's successor since the pair returned to the club in January 2007.

Smith's intention to retire at the end of current campaign has been known for some time, but it appears the former Scotland boss will face a disappointing end to what has been a hugely successful managerial career, as Old Firm rivals Celtic are currently eight points clear at the top of the SPL having battered the Gers 3-0 on Sunday.

Nonetheless, 62-year-old Smith will go down as one of the Scottish league's greatest ever managers, having won nine SPL titles - including seven in a row between 1991 and 1997 - over two spells with the club.

McCoist, 48, will have big boots to fill at Ibrox, but the fact that he is a club legend and has already been working with the first-team for four years will stand him in good stead for his first managerial position.

"We are delighted to confirm Ally as our next Manager when Walter Smith steps down at the end of the season," Rangers chief executive Martin Bain said. "First and foremost Ally is a passionate Rangers supporter who has been a loyal servant to the club both as a player and more recently assistant manager.

"He has contributed greatly to our success over the past four years and that is why we feel he is the right man to replace Walter. When Ally joined Walter as his assistant in January 2007 he was always being groomed as the next manager.

"He is the unanimous choice of the Rangers board to take the club forward next season and when I offered him the position in December - during our Champions League trip to Bursaspor - he agreed immediately.

"Walter Smith is rightly regarded as one of the most successful managers in our proud history and what he has achieved during the 9-in-a-row years and more recently in his second spell as manager is nothing short of remarkable."

McCoist said: "It was an honour to pull on the Rangers jersey during my playing career. I have enjoyed working with Walter, Kenny McDowall, Ian Durrant and the backroom team as assistant manager and to be confirmed as the next Rangers manager is a dream come true.

"Over the past few years I have been privileged to learn from one of the greatest managers in world football and Walter's record speaks for itself. The success he brought to Rangers during nine-in-a-row and the last four years in difficult times has been unbelievable and he has rightly gained the respect of everyone in the game.

"I am delighted to be following in his footsteps and I will do everything possible to bring further success to this club. I have said it many times - Rangers is a special club with a great history and tradition and this is the proudest day of my career.

"The fans have backed me for almost 20 years as a player and assistant manager and as a lifelong Rangers supporter myself I look forward to rewarding their loyalty by bringing silverware to our club.''

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