Smith flew to Italy after being told the Sampdoria player was available and a deal could be done.
"When the transfer window opened, I tried to see if Sampdoria would release him. Sampdoria and Palermo have a 50 per cent share of him and didn't want to sell him abroad. I thought that was the end of it. But when they weren't getting the bids they wanted, they told us there was a possibility a deal could be done.
"And because there was toing and froing we decided it was best to go over there but unfortunately a deal didn't happen. The lad has joined Brescia and even turned down a couple of Serie A clubs. So we lost out on him. There is always a bit of uncertainty when it's so late and you are trying to get someone to come to Scotland.
"We thought there would be a better chance if we went there as Italy's transfer window closes at 7pm. Right up until the last 10 minutes we didn't have any indication from Palermo what would happen.
"I said before the transfer window that if there was a player who would improve the team we would go for him, which we did in this case early on.
"But we had been given no joy. Then after the Hearts game on Wednesday, Martin Bain called me at home and said we needed to be in Milan in the morning. That's how late it was."