The Welsh side won promotion from the Championship as champions with 87 points last season and the 33-year-old believes that their Scottish boss's work ethic was at the root of their success.
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"There is a good reason things ran so smoothly last season and that has nothing to do with luck. A lot of hard graft, on and off the pitch, went into our promotion.
"I was with [Mackay] at Watford when he first moved into management and he hit the ground running. The job he did for Watford was outstanding over two or three seasons and he fully deserved to step up to the Cardiff job and has again showed what a great manager he is."
Mackay moved to Cardiff from Vicarage Road in 2011 and led the Bluebirds to a playoff and League Cup final in his first season before last year's promotion glory, with Smith envisioning even better to come.
"There is no doubt in my mind he has a bright future," the veteran enthused.
"As a player, I am lucky to be working with him and Cardiff are lucky to have him here. Malky Mackay is pushing our club in the right direction."