When Walter Smith spoke, everyone sat up and listened. The same will apply to Steven Davis.

For Kyle Lafferty, that is where the comparisons start and end, for now at least. The former Rangers striker knows it would be folly to talk up his friend and compatriot as the heir to Smith’s Ibrox throne.

But he is fully aware of the impact that Davis will have in the dressing room now that he has made the transition from player to manager in the aftermath of Michael Beale’s sacking.

Davis answered a call of duty on Sunday evening as he was appointed as interim boss. He will be assisted by the returning Alex Rae, while Steven Smith, Brian Gilmour have been promoted from the academy and Colin Stewart has remained as goalkeeping coach.

The Northern Irishman will take to the dugout for the first time on Thursday evening as Rangers begin life after Beale with a Europa League fixture against Aris Limassol. On Sunday, his tenure could come to an end with the Premiership clash away to St Mirren.

Beale spoke earlier this year about the influence that Davis still had behind the scenes as he continued his rehabilitation from the knee surgery that threatened to end his playing career. Time will tell if he does indeed pull on his boots once again or if he is now destined to wear a suit and tie going forward.

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Lafferty has been in enough dressing rooms, for club and for country, with Davis over the years to know the kind of person and professional that the Hall of Fame inductee is. In terms of a stature, in terms of a role as a statesman, there are few figures in Rangers’ recent history that come close to one of the greatest of all time.

“I’m not saying Michael Beale didn’t have the respect of the players because I’m sure he did,” Lafferty said. “But that’s also one thing Davo will have. Every one of those players will respect him, even the new lads.

“Davo will have been around the dressing room getting his knee sorted. But the boys who came in the summer will have worked out straight away the authority he carries and the admiration he deserves.

“But yeah, it will be a different situation now he’s in charge of the team. It’s one thing being captain of Rangers and Northern Ireland, it’s another thing being the actual leader of a football club.

“All eyes will be on him. But I think he’ll take to it like a duck to water. He’s not the type who will come in and start shouting his mouth off. But when he talks, people will listen.

“I don’t want to start putting him in the same bracket as Walter Smith as it’s obviously far too early for that and let’s be honest, they’ll only ever be one Walter.

“But he’ll have the same kind of hold that Walter had. He won’t say much but whenever he does speak, everyone will sit up and take note.

“When Walter spoke, you could look round the dressing room and suddenly everyone would sit up straight. I think Davo will have the exact same effect.

“Listen, you don’t have the career he’s had without having something about you. Yes, it’s a massive job to lead a club like Rangers - but he knows that the team have to win every game, no matter if it’s St Mirren or Real Madrid.

“Rangers fans expect a good performance and a winning result. That’s the mentality that’s drummed into you. It’s a big job but I don’t think there’s a better man for it than Davo.”

The departure of Beale came just 24 hours after Rangers fell seven points adrift of Celtic in the title race after their wretched loss to Aberdeen. It was a third defeat in the Premiership this term and the board were left with no option but to act decisively after seeing the support turn on Beale and his side.

Rangers Review: Michael Beale

The Englishman returned to Ibrox with high hopes of lifting the league flag for a second time after being part of Steven Gerrard’s staff during the 55 campaign. After failing to stop Celtic’s march towards the treble last season, his second shot at silverware has now come to a premature end.

With the international break approaching, Davis could find himself in the dugout for just a few days as chairman John Bennett and James Bisgrove, the chief executive officer, oversee the search for Rangers’ fourth manager in two seasons. While that process is ongoing, Rangers need to pick up results.

“I really thought Michael Beale was going to be the guy who brought the title back to Ibrox,” Lafferty said. “When it comes to football knowledge and how good technically and tactically he was on the training ground, he’s one of the best I’ve worked under.

“So I’m really disappointed to see Michael leaving so soon. Results haven’t been good and he’ll be the first person to admit that.

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“I’d have liked to see him stay on a wee bit longer - but on the plus side, my wee mate has now come in to take over. That’s taken me by shock.

“I was speaking to him only the other week to plan a game of golf, so now it looks like I’ll have the Rangers manager for a playing partner! I’m just absolutely delighted for him. I don’t think Davo has had the recognition he deserves for what he’s done in the game.

“Yes he’s got his MBE and is in the Ibrox Hall of Fame, but I think people overlook what he did in England. He played in the Premier League his entire time down there.

“He’s then come up to Scotland and been the best midfielder up here for years. Even when he came back the second time, people were doubting him.

“He hadn’t played a lot of football at Southampton and a lot of people thought he was finished - but he actually came back stronger and ended up being the best in the country again, as he proved with his player of the year award.

“Davo is an absolute gentleman and has the respect of everyone. I’m sure there’s not even a Celtic fan out there that wouldn’t secretly like him as a player and a person because he’s got it all. So I’m delighted he’s been given this chance.

“He’s got an old head in Alex Rae beside him which I’m sure will help massively. Hopefully it’s a partnership that will start picking up the results that we need.”

The list of names that have been touted to replace Beale is already lengthy. In the coming days, many more will either put themselves forward or rule themselves out as the recruitment drive is narrowed down and an appointment is made.

The Ibrox board are fully aware that the next man must be the right man. The process of chopping and changing the boss every season or so is not sustainable and not conducive to success.

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As it stands, there is no outstanding candidate that would unite a scunnered support. Lafferty has two names in mind.

“I’m sure Davo will have been shocked to get this opportunity,” Lafferty said. “But as he starts to get a feel for it and get more comfortable with the job, I’ve no doubt he’ll grow in confidence.

“And Listen, if he starts to get results and if we can close that gap on Celtic, then the job will probably his. But the big if is getting those results.

“If not, then there will be a list of guys jumping at the chance to manage Rangers. One of them I’m, sure will be another of my old managers in Derek McInnes.

“He’s definitely one of the best I’ve worked under. He was obviously offered the job before and for whatever reason, it wasn’t right for him.

“But if it doesn’t work out for Davo and Alex full time, then people like Derek I’m sure would be good enough to step up and get the job done.

“Everyone knows Derek is a Rangers fan and he played for the club, so he knows what Rangers means to the fans.

“But if Davo can get the results, then the job is his. Why would you want to change something that works?

“I’m sure he’ll be excited about the opportunity ahead of him, champing at the bit to get on that touchline on Thursday night as manager of Rangers.”