Smith hails triumphant Gers
Walter Smith has put Rangers' Scottish title success down to a 'fantastic' team spirit.
Last Updated: 24/05/09 4:58pm
Manager Walter Smith has put Rangers' Scottish title success down to a 'fantastic' team spirit.
The Gers secured their first Scottish Premier League crown in four years after goals by Kyle Lafferty, Pedro Mendes and Kris Boyd gave them a comfortable 3-0 win at Dundee United.
That denied Old Firm rivals Celtic a fourth straight league championship and brought an end to the Gers' worst title drought since the 1980s.
Celtic had been seven points clear in December and the league leadership changed hands several times in the title run-in.
Smith's men have also had to overcome some internal problems but held their nerve on the final day to claim the club's 52nd championship.
"You obviously hope but I felt at the stage in late December when we went well behind Celtic that we would lose out, but we haven't," said Smith.
"We've had a good spirit in our team. The other problems we've had have been something that we've managed to get over.
"It's a credit to every one of them - they've been fantastic.
"I don't really care whether people think we're the best team or not - we've won it," adding Smith after Celtic striker Georgios Samaras claimed Rangers would not be worthy champions.
Legendary ex-striker Ally McCoist expressed his delight after Rangers won their first league title since he joined the coaching staff along with Smith on his return to the club in January 2007.
McCoist played under Smith for most of the Gers' nine straight titles from 1989 to 1997 and hailed Smith's impact since returning to Ibrox.
The club has now won eight championships under Smith and last season the 61-year-old led them to a cup double and the UEFA Cup final.
"Look at the man's record since he came back and it's some achievement," said McCoist.
"If you don't learn from that man, you shouldn't be in the game at all."
"It's absolutely incredible," added the assistant boss.
"It's been a long season and I've never wanted anything more in my life than for those boys to win that championship.
"I could cry for them, I really could. It's just unbelievable."
Being crowned league champions was a new experience for most Rangers players with Barry Ferguson and Nacho Novo the only men remaining from their title-winning side of 2005.
"It's unbelievable, a great feeling," said captain David Weir.
"We've worked hard this season and it's a great finish. You've got to give our boys credit, I thought we played really well.
"I'm just delighted with today. You don't get many days like this in football."