Rangers manager Walter Smith glad to exit Old Firm heat

Rangers manager Walter Smith admits he is glad to be facing his final Old Firm derby after Celtic counterpart Neil Lennon was sent a letter bomb.

The two Glasgow sides meet on Sunday in a game that could determine the destiny of the Scottish title in Smith's last season at Ibrox.

"After the happenings of the last week, I'll be delighted it's my last one," said Smith.

"That, more than anything else, is the feeling I've got going into it."

Smith - who has been warned by police over his own security - has expressed his despair at the news that Lennon was sent two viable parcel bombs, while other high-profile supporters of the club were also targeted.

"It's our job," said the manager, who will stand down and hand over the management reigns to assistant Ally McCoist in the summer.

"If we were looking at it from a purely footballing point of view, we have reached the stage of the season that everybody should be looking forward to.

"Now you find yourself in a situation where it's other things that are grabbing the headlines and it should be the football.

"In the 20 years I've been involved and being from the west of Scotland, I've never known a week quite like this. It's sad.

"When you look at people like Neil Lennon and the other couple of people involved in the threats, it's something that unfortunately goes far beyond the footballing aspect."

The Old Firm fixture attracted unwanted headlines earlier this season when three Rangers players were sent off in a Scottish Cup replay, which also saw Lennon clash with both El Hadji Diouf and Ibrox assistant Ally McCoist.

"We have played six times and we have had four incidents that were news-worthy in those six games," added Smith.

"What we are talking about here is something outwith football.

"I think there were fewer arrests at Hampden than there were at the one before the League Cup final. This goes a big bit beyond the footballing aspect.

"There is that pressure placed on everyone who comes to the game on Sunday to make sure their behaviour is as it should be.

"I'm afraid the outside circumstances are dominating more than anything else."

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