David Weir calls time on Rangers

David Weir made 229 appearances for Rangers
Weir aims to extend his playing days after a wonderful late career at Ibrox

Walter Smith signed a glittering array of star players during his two spells in charge of Rangers, including Paul Gascoigne and Brian Laudrup.

But the former Ibrox manager rates recruiting David Weir among his best bits of business.

The defender arrived in Glasgow on a six-month deal in January 2007 at the ripe old age of 36.

Five years and eight trophies later, he has agreed a release in a bid to extend his remarkable playing career elsewhere, having made just one outing during this campaign.

"David has been a model professional ever since he signed for Rangers as a supposed stop-gap," enthused Rangers boss Ally McCoist on the news of Weir's departure.

"Walter once said he rates him as one of his best ever signings and I would certainly go along with that because he has been terrific for Rangers and has shown great consistency."

He certainly did. Despite his advancing years, Weir averaged more than 50 appearances in each of the four previous campaigns.

"People thought he would maybe play 40 or 50 games for Rangers, full stop; nobody imagined the impact he would have on the team," former Ibrox defender Craig Paterson told BBC Scotland.

"To have someone at that age put in that level of service is just incredible and it speaks volumes for his professionalism.

"He has been able to adapt to whatever challenges have been thrown at him and has always led from the front."

At the end of each season Weir would bat off questions about hanging up his boots, then he would pen another 12-month extension.

And a sharp mind made up for his lack of speed, but that was always the case during his days at Falkirk, Hearts and Everton.

"Perhaps his greatest asset is the ability to spot danger," added Paterson.

"He can see it before it happens and get into a position to deal with it.

"He makes it look easy and believe me, that's not the case!

"He's also a great communicator on the pitch.

"During his time at Rangers, good defenders like Madjid Bougherra and Carlos Cuellar played and the one constant was David Weir. I'm sure those guys would say he helped them become better players."

David Weir played 69 times for Scotland
Weir was capped on 69 occasions by Scotland

Prior to signing him for Rangers, Smith had persuaded Weir to return to the Scotland team in 2004, after a fall out with the previous international manager Berti Vogts.

Having become the oldest player to have turned out for Scotland the month earlier, he won the last of his 69 caps in a 3-2 loss to Spain at Hampden on 12 October 2010.

In March last year, Weir's former Everton boss David Moyes told BBC Scotland that he would love to have him on his coaching staff one day.

And a move into management would appear to be a logical next step for the man who will turn 42 in May.

However, Weir is intent on pulling his boots on somewhere for the remainder of this season, at least.

"He has such a great knowledge of the game and he's a fantastic role model," said Paterson.

"At his age he needs to be playing regularly, not training so much, just using games to stay fit.

"And there must be a few teams that need a leader, someone to guide younger players, with a view to him maybe joining the coaching staff.

"For that kind of role, I can think of none better."

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