The football rivalry was put aside as representatives of Rangers and Celtic paid a poignant tribute to Walter Smith at Ibrox ahead of tonight’s game against Aberdeen.
Steven Gerrard and his assistant Gary McAllister laid a wreath in memory of the club’s most successful post-war manager amid moving scenes following news of Smith’s death at the age of 73.
They were joined by captain James Tavernier and veterans Steven Davis and Allan McGregor – both of whom played under Smith on his second stint as manager – as the crowd gathered to pay their respects outside the stadium .
The wreath worn by Gerrard included a hand-written message, signed by the Rangers manager, which read: “To the Smith family, I am truly sorry for your loss on behalf of myself and my staff.
“I want to send our condolences. He has been of tremendous support to all of us. He will be sorely missed.
“Much love, Steven Gerrard”.
Video: Former Rangers, Scotland and Everton manager Walter Smith dies (Daily Record)
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Rangers chairman Douglas Park also paid a floral tribute, while Celtic were represented by chairman Ian Bankier, interim general manager Michael Nicholson and club legend Tom Boyd.
The trio marched alongside Rangers general manager Stewart Robertson as they laid a wreath that read: “Rest in peace Walter… From everyone at Celtic Football Club”.
There was a wave of grief throughout Scottish football following news of Smith’s passing, and the doors outside Ibrox turned into a sanctuary with hundreds of bouquets, scarves and flags placed by grieving fans and supporters.
The Rangers canceled their pre-game press conference ahead of Aberdeen’s game, but an emotional Gerrard paid tribute to his mentor and predecessor in an interview with Rangers TV.
“It is still very raw but it is a sad day for everyone connected with the club,” he said.
“Walter was an incredible leader, a very successful manager at Rangers. I think he embodied everything this club stands for. His DNA is everywhere in the club. This is obviously very sad news.
“I was lucky to know him and spend time with him. So have lots of other people who will have their own special memories of a great man. “
The Rangers will keep a minute of silence before kick-off at Ibrox tonight in what is sure to be an emotional occasion.