By Kealan Hughes

8th Feb, 2021 | 7:13pm

'He was fuming' – Paul Gascoigne details altercation that almost forced early Rangers exit in 96

Paul Gascoigne was a player who never shied away from controversy in his career and he has revealed that one event almost cut short his Rangers career.

Gazza was a huge success at Ibrox but that did not prevent his manager Walter Smith from demanding 100% professionalism from the midfielder.

Gascoigne has recounted a tale from 1996 when Smith caught him having a drink at a party on a Friday night before matchday.

He explained an altercation took place the next day, just before Rangers were about to play.

On the Anything Goes With James English Podcast, Gascoigne recalls Smith saying (1:01:15), “‘Get back in there, put your suit on and get out of my club’ so I just giggled, then he said ‘I’m serious do it now’.

“He was fuming, I was walking out of the ground as all the fans were coming in.

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“I had to sit indoors for three days and then he says right you’re allowed to come back to the club, ‘I’ll tell you when to drink and when not to drink’.

“I had such great times up there.”

Tough love

When Gascoigne and Smith are involved, it is difficult to know if the former was really close to leaving Ibrox after that incident.

After all, the former England man had already established himself as a fan favourite and was a key member of the side.

Gascoigne added that he scored a hattrick in his next match – the October 1996 clash against Motherwell, so that highlights how important he was.

It is likely just another funny tale of Gazza’s career, and an example of Smith being a tough disciplinarian.

Gascoigne was a player who needed tough love at times, and in the podcast he explained that he thrived off that management style.

Terry Venables got the best out of him with Tottenham and England because of it, he said, and judging by his Gers record Smith was right to adopt the same strategy.

The pair would go on to win the Scottish Premiership at the end of that season, having won the double in Gazza’s first season at the club.

In other Rangers news, ‘People should take notice’ – Sky pundit reacts as footage of Gers star emerges post-Hamilton.