Former Rangers manager Walter Smith has been giving evidence at the trial of ex-club owner Craig Whyte.

Mr Smith, 69, was the first witness in the case against Whyte, who is accused of a fraudulent acquisition of the club.

He told the High Court in Glasgow about his time managing the team between 1991 and 1998, and then again from 2007 until 2011.

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During the first day of evidence, the jury of eight men and seven women heard about the first meeting between Mr Smith and Whyte, 46, shortly before he took over the club in May 2011.

The meeting took place in Glasgow and also included former chief executive Martin Bain and former finance director Donald McIntyre.

Mr Smith, who identified Whyte in the dock, said the purpose of the meeting was for the prospective owner to ask questions before he went ahead and bought the club.

He said: "From Mr Whyte's point of view, he was more interested in the financial aspects of the club.

"He asked me towards the end of the meeting what I felt was required for the football team."

Mr Smith said he had told Whyte the team required investment.

"I felt the team needed a level of freshness," he said.

"He seemed to take that in. I was obviously meeting him for the first time and I was leaving as manager. I think he accepted that."

The former manager told the court that at the time he was aware of a tax case involving Rangers but was not directly involved.

Mr Smith said he was also aware of an overdraft the club had at the time, which he said had reduced over the four years he was in place from about £30 million to around £16 million when he left, just days after Whyte took over the club.

Whyte faces two charges relating to the purchase, one of fraud and another under the Companies Act.

It is alleged he pretended to then Rangers owner Sir David Murray, and others, that funds were available to make all required payments to acquire a ''controlling and majority stake'' in the club - including clearing an £18 million bank debt, £2.8 million for the ''small tax case'' liability, a £1.7 million health-and-safety liability and £5 million for the playing squad.

The Crown alleges Mr Whyte had only £4 million available from two sources at the time but took out a £24 million loan from Ticketus against three years of future season ticket sales ''which was held subject to an agreement or agreements being entered into between the club and Ticketus after said acquisition''.

The second charge under the Companies Act centres on the £18 million payment between Mr Whyte's Wavetower company and Rangers to clear a Bank of Scotland debt.

Whyte denies both charges.

Under cross-examination by Donald Findlay QC, representing Whyte, Mr Smith acknowledged the debt at the time he left could have been in the region of £18 million.

He said that he was "never overly-burdened by the financial aspects" of the club.

He told the jury that during his second stint as manger the club was successful, winning eight domestic trophies and reaching a European final.

Mr Smith agreed that "hopefully" such success on the pitch, in Mr Findlay's words, "ought to have brought with it some financial success".

However, he said that after he left in 2011 the team had gone out of the Europa League, adding that was a "major disappointment for any club".

He agreed it would be a "significant financial blow" for Rangers at the time.

Mr Findlay asked: "Around the period in 2011 did you know how bad things were financially at Rangers?"

Mr Smith said: "Not exactly, because we had had success over the period which I felt was helping the club lower the level of debt that it had, the exact amount I couldn't tell you."

Mr Findlay asked whether the club had been given an indication from the bank that it "had had enough of bank-rolling Rangers".

"Yes, we had an indication of that prior to 2011," he said.