Boss pays tribute to Smith’s six decades in game

Football manager Alex Smith
Football manager Alex Smith

Falkirk boss Peter Houston has paid tribute to the club’s technical director Alex Smith who was inducted into the Scottish Football Hall of Fame on Sunday.

Smith has been a trusted confidante and adviser to Bairns bosses since joining the club in 2009 as part of Eddie May’s backroom team. He has assisted young rookie bosses Steven Pressley and Gary Holt as well as taking the team in the interim period between both managers.

Alex Smith has managed at various clubs in Scotland, including Dundee United, Clyde and Ross County, plus an interim spell in charge at Falkirk

Alex Smith has managed at various clubs in Scotland, including Dundee United, Clyde and Ross County, plus an interim spell in charge at Falkirk

Smith, who turns 77 on Christmas Day this year, still holds a voracious appetite for football and is regularly at the Falkirk Stadium for first team training while keeping a regular eye on the Forth Valley Football Academy based at Stirling University where he is Academy ambassador.

Houston said: “It’s a fantsic award and thoroughly deserved. His enthusiasm for football has never ever waned right through from the kids to the first team and that’s been week in week out for as many years he’s been involved.

“He’s the only manager outside the Old Firm to win the Scottish Cup with two different - provincial - clubs, and we were all there as a backroom staff to support him.”

Smith won the Scottish Cup with St Mirren in 1987 and came close to interrupting Rangers’ record-equalling nine-in-a-row with Aberdeen, running the Ibrox side into a memorable final day league showdown in 1991. He is one of only three managers to have earned silverware at Pittodrie since Sir Alex Ferguson’s reign in the north-east, winning the League Cup, and the 1990 Scottish Cup.

He was also a key figure in Clyde’s relocation to Cumbernauld and has been a trusted ear to many managers including Paul Lambert, and Sir Alex himself.

He is the chairman of the Scottish League Managers’ Association and assessor on the SFA’s managerial training courses.

He has bossed Stirling 
Albion, Scotland under-18s and under-21s, Dundee United, Aberdeen, St Mirren, Clyde and Ross County since cutting his teeth, and landing the Stirlingshire Cup with his first club Stenhousemuir.

“Alex Smith is a great ear,” added Houston. “At 76 being involved every day, and going to the Academy, it’s incredible.

“He is great for James McDonaugh and Alan Maybury to speak to as young coaches.

“He’s helped the younger managers in the past but he’s a great guy to have about the club. You get some great chat with him and he knows the game. He never tries to question any decision.

“He’d never interfere. He knows his place in the club but he’s very quick to praise for a good decision and he’s quick to see positives when we’ve been beat.

“I regularly say to him to watch what he’s doing, but he’s fit as a fiddle. He had a pacemaker fitted a couple of years ago but he was back in about eight days later – that speaks volumes.”

Falkirk is well represented in the Hall of Fame.

As well as Mr Smith’s most recent induction there are many links with the club and the district.

McCrae’s Battalion are in the HoF as is Bobby Brown, ex-Falkirk player and Scotland manager Craig Brown, Willie Ormond, Billy Steel and George Young.

John White ‘The Ghost of White Hart Lane’ is also included, as is ex-Bairn and Shire boss Sir Alex Ferguson.