It's right time to go - Smith

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Rangers manager Walter Smith will walk away with a sense of regret but insists his decision to quit is the right one as the club enters a new era.

The veteran boss signed off from his second spell at the Ibrox helm with a third consecutive Clydesdale Bank Premier League title following Sunday's emphatic 5-1 win at Kilmarnock.

Smith has now won 10 titles - and 21 trophies in total - over his two spells and revealed how he wrestled with his decision to step down from the helm at the end of this season. He said: "I'll always have a regret. I had a regret when I was actually arguing with myself about whether to do it or not. Yes, there will be a regret but I still think it's the right thing."

He added: "It's the right thing for myself and it's the right thing for Rangers now that they've got a new owner and a new manager. It's the right thing to do. The lads who have been working with me - Ally McCoist, Kenny McDowell and Ian Durrant - have been patiently waiting for an opportunity to take over.

"I think they thought they would possibly get it a bit earlier but they haven't and they have been fantastic for me. That was part of my decision and it was the right one."

Asked where this achievement ranks with all his others at Rangers, Smith added: "I don't think you can pick and choose. If you have won a few you are fortunate to be able to try to answer that question. Each one of them are special for you."

Rangers knew victory at Rugby Park would secure the silverware regardless of events at Celtic Park on Sunday and the match was all but over as a contest after just seven minutes. Kyle Lafferty grabbed the opener after just 47 seconds, before Steven Naismith netted and Lafferty found the back of the net again in a blistering opening spell.

Nikica Jelavic claimed a goal himself soon after the restart and Lafferty completed his hat-trick, before James Dayton netted a consolation goal for Kilmarnock. Smith said: "We had a fantastic start and the standard of finishing for the first three goals was exceptional. It was a terrific way to start and eased the nerves a bit.

"If you look at the games we have played since the defeat to Dundee United, we have been playing some good football. We have started the last half dozen or so games well and we did that. To be 3-0 up after seven minutes is something we never expected. It was a pleasing factor - it just leaves you more than 80 minutes of the game to handle."

Kilmarnock caretaker manager Kenny Shiels said: "Rangers were worthy winners, without a doubt. They deserved to beat us. They had a big challenge coming here to win and they wiped the floor with us. To be 3-0 up after seven minutes shows the character they have and they ripped us apart in that spell. I didn't think 5-1 was the correct scoreline but Rangers deserved to win, without a shadow of a doubt."

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Kyle Lafferty
Premier League
James Dayton

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