By Alex Stevens
Walter Smith has revealed that David Weir was his best pound-for-pound signing during his two spells as manager of Rangers.
Smith is the second most successful manager in the Scottish giants’ history, securing 21 major trophies, including 10 league titles.
The Ibrox icon, now 69, managed Rangers from 1991 to 1998 and again from 2007 to 2011, and picks out Weir as his outstanding capture.
Smith signed Weir from Everton at the age of 36 and many expected the veteran to be a stop-gap before retiring, but the centre-back proved nearly everyone wrong.
He was a mainstay of the team for the next five years and went on to play until he was 41 before leaving the club to take up a coaching role at Sheffield United.
The former Scotland international has split opinion among many sections of the Rangers’ support after being assistant to Mark Warburton for two seasons before they left in acrimonious circumstances last month.
Speaking to Rangers’ official website, Smith said: “I’ve been asked a few times in interviews to name the player I felt was my best signing as Rangers manager but it’s a tough question to answer because a lot of the players I brought to Ibrox went on to enjoy a great level of success at the club.
“If however you were to ask me for my best pound-for-pound signing that is slightly easier because it would have to be Davie Weir who came to us for nothing, we didn’t even pay a pound for him!
“At the start of my second spell as manager in January 2007 the first thing I wanted to do was bring in an experienced figure in defence and looking back now I couldn’t have gone for anyone better than Davie.
“Initially he only signed for six months because he was 36 but we ended up offering him another year and then another year.
“It went on like that and aside from his wages he didn’t cost us anything. In his five years at Ibrox he was outstanding both in the way he performed on the pitch and the way he conducted himself off it.
“In terms of pound-for-pound signings Rangers have made you will struggle to beat Davie and that’s all down the desire he had to be successful at the club.”
Weir linked up with Warburton for a third time earlier this month when he was appointed as Warburton’s number two at Nottingham Forest.
This prompted criticism from Rangers fans, who claimed the duo engineered their exits from Ibrox to join the Championship strugglers.
Pedro Caixinha was appointed the new Rangers manager last week and the club intend to have a new director of football in place by the summer.
The Light Blues are 33 points adrift of the Scottish league leaders Celtic, who are closing in on a sixth consecutive title.
In other Rangers news, one of the club’s midfielders has agreed the terms of a mammoth new deal.