On this day in 2004: Walter Smith replaces Berti Vogts as Scotland boss

Walter Smith was unveiled as the new manager of Scotland on a four-year contract on this day in 2004.

Walter Smith was named Scotland boss on December 2, 2004.  (Photo by Christopher Furlong/Getty Images)
Walter Smith was named Scotland boss on December 2, 2004. (Photo by Christopher Furlong/Getty Images)

The then 56-year-old succeeded Berti Vogts, who quit his position a month earlier after picking up just two points from the opening three qualifying matches for the 2006 World Cup.

Vogts was accused of devaluing the honour of playing for Scotland by capping too many players in friendlies, but the former Rangers and Everton boss said he would take a different attitude towards challenge games.

He said: “I think the number of friendlies in the past has resulted in too many withdrawals. You have to question the benefit of playing them unless you are certain you have a group of players who are going to be playing in the next competitive game.

“Recent history suggests that that hasn’t been the case so it may be more advantageous if we have group meetings where we can lay down the future of the international team.

“The first thing I have to do is to get a nucleus of players together, so I don’t envisage the situation where we cap as many players as we did in the past.”

Smith said he would not bar any players from returning to the national set-up, including Everton duo Duncan Ferguson and David Weir, both of whom had turned their backs on their country.

He said: “Once I sit down and look at the squad and I think there is a player who can enhance it, then I will approach them.

“If he says he doesn’t want to play at international level I will ask him why and try to get them to change their mind.

“People mention David Weir and Duncan Ferguson but there are a number of players who are in the same circumstances at the present moment and I will take each case on its merits.”

Smith won seven of his 16 matches in charge and Scotland sat at the top of their Euro 2008 qualifying group, ahead of France and Italy, when he tendered his resignation to take over at Rangers in January 2007.