FORMER Manchester United and Scotland midfielder Darren Fletcher was well-acquainted with Rangers legend Walter Smith, having worked under him for both club and country.

And the 37-year-old has recalled a turning point in Cristiano Ronaldo's career at Old Trafford when an unusual coaching approach from Smith helped propel the Portuguese superstar's game to the next level.

Smith sadly passed away on Tuesday morning at the age of 73, prompting an outpouring of grief and rememberances about the Ibrox great.

In a clip shared on social media, Fletcher recalled how Ronaldo was often selfish on the ball when he first arrived in the Premier League.

But an experiment devised by Smith - who served as Sir Alex Ferguson's assistant at United in 2004 - soon provided Ronaldo with an insight which took his game to the next level.

Fletcher said: "[Ronaldo] frustrated the life out of everybody. Everybody thought ‘if he could learn, if he could learn …’

"Eventually Walter Smith came in and decided not to give fouls in training.

"It was in general but I think the sole purpose was for Ronaldo.

"So when Ronaldo was doing his skills, not passing, taking the ball – the lads were fouling him. Whereas before, in the first six months of the season, the foul was given as you’d expect. But Walter said ‘no foul’.

"For two weeks Ronaldo was tearing his hair out and he was going bananas. It was open season.

"What happens after a few weeks? Ronaldo starts passing the ball because he’s sick of getting kicked. Now he starts playing one- or two-touch football and he’s running.

"Now he starts getting goals. Now it starts clicking in his head: ‘oh, I’m starting to score more goals, I’m starting to make an impact in games’.

"That was the beginning of Ronaldo’s transition."