Ally McCoist hailed Walter Smith as the “second father who turned into a best friend” following the death of his mentor.
McCoist knew more than anybody about the many football attributes that helped Walter Smith achieve so much – including 21 major trophies at Ibrox.
The forward played under Smith for 12 years and then assisted him for Scotland and Rangers.
But it was as a friend and family man that the former Rangers and Scotland striker remembered his former manager.
McCoist told talkSPORT: “He was everything to a lot of folk, myself included. He was my boss, my coach, he was my second father and then he turned into one of my best friends, to be honest. The loss is absolutely incredible.
“However, the good thing is he’s not in pain. I went to see Walter recently, and I spoke to Walter on Saturday, was going to go and see him on Sunday. Clearly, he was too unwell.
“And we knew that sadly there is an inevitability about this horrible illness and we knew that it would be a matter of time. But it still does not take away the pain and the grief.
“At this moment in time, all I can think about is (wife) Ethel, (sons) Neil and Steven and his grandkids.
“All Walter would have wanted was another few years to watch those grandkids play football and spend a lot of time with Jessica and them all, and sadly that’s the most painful thing for me right now.
“I could sit here and tell you about Walter Smith until the cows come home, about how good a manager, how good a coach, how good a football man he was.
“But I think I can safely say was the best husband, the best father, the best friend – everything you’d expect in a man. And it’s a tragic day. I can’t tell you how devastated I am. Absolutely devastated.”
McCoist gave an insight into the man that football fans did not see.
“He loved his music,” McCoist said. “I remember I took him to see AC/DC. He didn’t know what AC/DC were all about. I said ‘come on, auld yin, we’re going to Hampden to see AC/DC’.
“Boy, did he enjoy that, the air guitars were out, Angus Young was up on stage, and he just absolutely loved it.”
McCoist’s coaching relationship with Smith goes back to his teenage days.
“He was the best, by some considerable distance for me,” McCoist said.
“I was 17 when I first played under him for the Scottish youth team. I can still remember walking about the balcony in Monte Carlo as a 17-year-old boy and he gave me that look. And I let him in quickly.
“Walter was 100 per cent honest and fair. And if he said something to you, he wasn’t saying it for effect, he was saying it because it had to be said. He was just the most genuine of men – hard, fair, honest, and an absolutely wicked, wicked sense of humour. Just brilliant to be around.
“He knew what was required and when it was required, whether it was a pat on the back, a little gee up, a cuddle. He was just a proper human being.
“The history books will tell us how good Walter was as a manager and a coach, and that’s all the things we love and appreciate him for. But I’ll tell you right now, what a friend, what a pal, what a boss, what a husband, what a dad, what a grandfather.
“That’s the message we should all be thinking about. His family have lost somebody so close to them, so special to them and I just send them my love and I can feel their pain.”
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