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Ex-Rangers boss Smith: I would've quit if I copped Lennon treatment

Departing Rangers manager Walter Smith said he would have quit his job if he received the treatment that Celtic's Neil Lennon did this season. The Hoops boss was the subject of a number of death threats and suspicious packages designed to cause harm plus he was attacked by a fan during a match against Heart of Midlothian recently.

Amidst all the chaos, Lennon has remained seemingly calm as he tried to guide Celtic to the Scottish title and Smith, who was successful in his pursuits in his final term in charge at Ibrox, admits he could not have lasted with that sort of drama and fear.

"If any packages had been directed at me then I wouldn't have been in the job any longer. I know Neil said that the threats he received, and the packages that had been intercepted by the police before they could reach him, would not drive him out of his job at Celtic," he said.

"But it would have been the end for me. I would not have been in the job any longer. Nothing is worth that just for a game of football.

"When I first arrived at Rangers to be Graeme Souness' assistant in 1986, the club doctor at the time Donald Cruickshank told me that a little stress in life was no bad thing.

"His advice was that it was all part of the job and not necessarily damaging to my health. "But I have to admit that visit from the police left me shaken.

"Never in my wildest dreams did I think I'd be sitting at Murray Park one day listening to a policeman tell me what I should instruct my wife to do if anything suspicious arrived at our house.

"I have no time for the sectarian aspect which attaches itself to the Old Firm and neither do my Catholic friends.

"I think if Tommy Burns had still been alive he'd have been horrified by some of the things that have gone on this season.

"When I review the season I know there are times on the pitch over the seven derbies that we won't look back on with pride - and I'm referring to both sides.

"But there's a religious aspect that has come back for the first time in years and that doesn't help in the Old Firm's claustrophobic environment."

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Andrew Slevison
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Andrew Slevison

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