Lafferty salutes Smith
Kyle Lafferty bagged the hat-trick which secured the title for Rangers and then paid tribute to Walter Smith.
Last Updated: 15/05/11 7:06pm
Kyle Lafferty bagged the hat-trick which secured the title for Rangers and then paid tribute to outgoing manager Walter Smith.
Lafferty helped himself to three goals and Steven Naismith and Nikica Jelavic were also on the scoresheet as the Scottish champions cruised to a 5-1 win at Kilmarnock to secure their third title in a row.
The Northern Irishman has had his ups and downs during his time at Ibrox and was thrilled to be the hero as Smith brought to an end his second spell at Rangers.
Lafferty said: "He is the manager who brought me here. I always dreamed of playing for Rangers and he gave me that chance and I thank him for that.
"To score three goals in his last game and to win the title and three in a row was amazing.
"We sent him off the other night in his last game at Ibrox and then managed to get the win today and he picked up his last trophy for the club. It was a great achievement for him."
Lafferty had also netted in the previous two seasons' title deciders, before grabbing his hat-trick at Rugby Park.
He added: "It's happened for the last three years now. Scoring first, I would have been happy with that. But to get three today was a dream for me.
"I definitely don't enjoy the pressure but I just do the same in training and in the games and the goals seem to come along at the end."
Rangers knew a win on the final day would seal the silverware, regardless of events at Celtic Park, where Neil Lennon's men defeated Motherwell 4-0.
And they all but ended the game as a contest with three goals in the opening seven minutes, including Lafferty's opener after 47 seconds.
Lafferty said: "Every single player knew what we had to do - get the three points and we would be champions.
"We did that and to get the goals so early in the game was a dream, although we took the foot off the gas a bit once we went 3-0 up."
Lafferty believes past experience of delivering titles helped Rangers produce the goods once again this term.
The striker said: "We have been there for the last three years and we know what it's all about. We've got that winning mentality in the team - we don't know when to stop."