That’s because he was too busy trying to seal the signing of Lee McCulloch!
Smith (left) signed McCulloch in the summer of 2017[/caption]
Recounting the story during a podcast appearance, Viola revealed that himself and Ibrox great Smith were in attendance at a glitzy Glasgow dinner where former President Clinton was the guest of honour.
As other guests lined up to have their photo taken with Clinton, Smith and Viola were unmoved as they were too busy trying to negotiate a deal for McCulloch.
McCulloch was with English Premier League side Wigan Athletic at the time and his transfer to the Gers turned into a bit of a saga.
After bids were rejected – including one labelled “derisory” – a deal was eventually struck and the Scotland international moved to his boyhood club for £2.25million in July 2007.
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McCulloch, of course, went on to become a firm favourite with Gers fans, winning three league titles, playing in the UEFA Cup Final and also captaining the club during their journey up the lower leagues.
So all in all, it certainly worked out for Gers boss Smith even if he missed out on meeting the President!
Viola told the CamBro Conversations Podcast: “I was at a special dinner in Glasgow city centre, sitting next to Walter Smith.
“I said ‘great, this is the time for Walter and I to have a real chat.’
“The dinner we were at was actually for President Bill Clinton who was in Glasgow and there was this special dinner.
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“We were sort of a top table type thing and everybody was getting their picture taken with Bill Clinton.
“My friend who organised it came up to me. He said ‘the special services are waiting on you and Walter to get your picture taken with Bill Clinton.’
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“I said ‘listen, I’m trying to sell Lee McCulloch.’ He went ‘just stay there, don’t worry about the picture!’
“I swear to this day, he still talks to me about how we were the only two left at this table chatting about taking Lee because the two were really intense about it that we missed the picture with Bill Clinton.”