Rangers manager Walter Smith has agreed to work without a contract when his current deal expires next month, chief executive Martin Bain revealed today. Bain told Rangers shareholders that Smith, assistant Ally McCoist and first-team coach Kenny McDowall would all stay on without signing new deals while majority shareholder Sir David Murray tries to sell his stake in the club.
Speaking at the club's annual general meeting, Bain said: "To clarify the position of Walter Smith and his assistants with regard to contracts, we are lucky to have a management team who are all true Rangers supporters. "Walter, Ally and Kenny have agreed to work without contracts to protect the club from having a management team that new owners might not want.''
Smith is reportedly the Scottish Football Association's top target along with Craig Levein in their hunt for a national team coach, despite ruling himself out of a return to the role he vacated in January 2007 to begin a second stint as Rangers boss. But confirmation of his willingness to work without a contract will be a blow to SFA board members, who thought they could take advantage of the uncertainty surrounding his future.
Smith, 61, led Rangers to the Clydesdale Bank Premier League title in May and has also won three cup competitions and reached the UEFA Cup final in his two full seasons since returning to Ibrox.
Meanwhile, chairman Alastair Johnston received generous applause from shareholders when he ruled out the re-naming of Ibrox Stadium. Rangers are £31million in debt but Johnston insisted they would not follow the likes of Newcastle by selling the naming rights for the club's home.
"One thing we will not be putting in this business plan, or in future business plans, there is no plan to sell the naming rights to this stadium," he said. "Ibrox is non-negotiable.''