By Alex O'Henley
Walter Smith has been named as Scotland manager in succession to Berti Vogts.
The former Rangers FC and Everton FC manager has signed a four-and-a-half year deal with the Scottish Football Association, running until after their UEFA EURO 2008™ campaign. He takes over from the ex-Germany coach who resigned in November with the team having secured just two points from their opening three FIFA World Cup qualifiers against Slovenia, Norway and Moldova.
Smith said: "Maybe it's old-fashioned but I think the post of national team manager is a post that everyone who’s involved in football would want and I'm no different. I've had experience with the national team from youth level, the Under-21s to assistant manager of the national side, albeit that was 18 years ago. But I'm now looking forward to my own spell as team manager."
Home is key
Regarding the chances of making it to Germany in 2006, the 15th man to manage Scotland added: "
I certainly haven’t given up hope of qualifying for the World Cup. It's going to be tough, the last couple of home games haven't gone the way we wanted and I think the home games will be an important factor."
Smith, 56, led Rangers to six Scottish league titles in his seven years in charge before taking over at Everton between 1998 and 2002. Last season he assisted Sir Alex Ferguson at Manchester United FC, reuniting the partnership that took charge of Scotland at the 1986 World Cup finals after the death of Jock Stein. His first competitive match as Scotland manager will be in Italy on 26 March.
Meanwhile, Scotland assistant coach Tommy Burns has revealed that Smith would like him to stay in the role, having previously worked alongside Vogts and taken temporary charge of team affairs for last month's 4-1 friendly defeat by Sweden. Speaking to uefa.com, Burns said: "Walter has asked me to stay and work alongside him in the same capacity as I was in before. I'm thrilled to have been given that chance as I have always considered it a great honour to be involved with Scotland."
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