Rangers hat-trick scorer Kyle Lafferty in dreamland

Rangers forward Kyle Lafferty
Lafferty bagged a treble in Rangers' rout at Rugby Park

Kyle Lafferty described his hat-trick in Rangers' title-clinching win at Kilmarnock as "a dream".

And the forward took his opportunity to thank outgoing manager Walter Smith for bringing him to Ibrox.

"He is the manager who brought me here," said Lafferty. "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."

Lafferty continued his habit of scoring on the day Rangers won the title, having done so in 2009 and 2010.

"It's happened for the last three years now," said the Northern Ireland international. "Scoring first, I would have been happy with that. But to get three today was a dream for me.

"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.

"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.

"We sent him (Smith) 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."

Smith leaves weeks after the club was bought over by businessman Craig Whyte, who also paid tribute to the management team, with assistant Ally McCoist taking over for next season.

"Today's title win is a truly great achievement by a club whose hallmark has been success throughout its proud history," said Whyte.

"I would like to congratulate Walter Smith, Ally McCoist and Kenny McDowall for their brilliant leadership.

"I also pay the highest possible tribute to the players who have shown great skill and determination in turning their desire for success into the club's 54th league title - the highest number attained by any club.

"The supporters want to see success and they deserve that success for the way in which they have stuck with the team.

"It is a great privilege to be part of Rangers and while we celebrate this title and our success in the League Cup our thoughts will turn quickly to building on this success."

Rangers owner Craig Whyte and some club directors applaud the team's win against Kilmarnock
Whyte (centre) watched Rangers' title triumph with some club directors

Whyte's arrival is expected to herald changes in the board room and current chief executive Martin Bain told BBC Scotland he had "no idea" what form these would take.

In the meantime, Bain heaped praise on the club's staff and supporters.

"Like all Rangers fans, I know how much this win means to every member of the Rangers family.

"The achievement of Walter, Ally, Kenny and the players over recent seasons has been nothing short of miraculous, given the challenges the club has had to meet.

"They responded in the true Rangers way by standing up to be counted when the odds were stacked against them.

"I would also pay tribute to the staff at the club who have supported the team in every possible way, always believing the success of the club is the most important thing.

"Finally, I would also like to thank our fans who have backed the club through thick and thin in recent years.

"They are the lifeblood of the club and their tremendous commitment to Rangers and Scottish football deserves to be recognised."

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