RANGERS manager Walter Smith insists he has no intention of following in the footsteps of Alex Ferguson by having a change of heart over retiring at the end of the season.
The 62-year-old revealed in the summer this would be his final year in football, before making way for his assistant Ally McCoist to replace him in the Ibrox hot-seat.
However, speaking ahead of Rangers’ Champions League clash with Manchester United tonight, Ferguson urged his close friend and former colleague to have a rethink, claiming he still has too much to offer the game.
“It was nice of him to mention it but I’ve made my decision,” said Smith. “I’m leaving at the end of the year and that’s it.”
Ferguson himself almost retired in 2002 but subsequently changed his mind. Then, in April this year, he dismissed rumours he was set to quit at the end of this season.
“My own situation was completely different. I had no intention of staying even this length of time when I first came back to Rangers.
“The two situations are both on a parallel but I think every manager needs a level of motivation as well and I think Manchester United motivates Sir Alex as much as the other way around.”
Smith said: “On the two occasions that I worked with Sir Alex, we always had a decent relationship.
“In terms of football and any aspect of his job, yes, he is intense. Outside of that, no. He enjoys a laugh as much as anyone else, he likes a glass of red wine, and he’s good company. If I was a selecting a number of people I would like to come to a dinner party I would invite him. He’s good company but he has not achieved what he has achieved by being somebody who accepts whatever is coming his way easily. I’ve been fortunate to know him for many years.”
This summer saw Smith able to purchase new players for the first time since August 2008, albeit £4million signing Nikica Jelavic is ineligible for the Champions League as a result of former club Rapid Vienna’s progression to the Europa League group stage.
Rangers’ debt last season was reported to be around £30million and the transfer kitty, which also allowed the capture of James Beattie from Stoke and the loan signing of Manchester City’s Vladimir Weiss, was largely down to winning automatic entry to the Champions League again this season.
“I couldn’t believe Walter when he told me what the debt was,” said Ferguson.
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