Craig Brown: Scotland legend dies aged 82 as tributes flood in for ex-Aberdeen and Motherwell boss

Scottish football has been paying tribute to one of its most popular, beloved and respected figures Craig Brown following his death on Monday aged 82.

Brown leaves a lasting legacy in the game having guided the country to Euro 1996 and the World Cup in France in 1998 during an eight-year spell as boss of the national team. The Scottish FA described him as “a pioneer and innovator, a teacher and a mentor to generations of players who graduated to coaching and management under his tutelage”. No individual has managed more Scotland games than Brown’s 71. SFA president Mike Mulraney believes he “deserves his place in the pantheon of great coaches”.

“Words cannot do justice to the impact Craig Brown has had on Scottish football,” he said. “The greatest tribute that can be paid to his professional capabilities is the respect in which he was held by his peers, who also happened to be our all-time great coaches: among them Jock Stein, Sir Alex Ferguson, Walter Smith, Jim McLean and Andy Roxburgh.”

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Brown, who survived surgery on an aneurysm in 2020, died after a short illness, a family statement confirmed.

“The family wish to express their deep appreciation of the outstanding care and attention provided by hospital staff and the countless messages of support and sympathy from friends and colleagues,” it read.

Brown started his playing career with Rangers before spells at Dundee and Falkirk. He was part of a league winning side at Dens Park. Management was where he made his name, carving out a career which spanned more than 35 years, beginning with Clyde, combining his coaching with work in academia.

Scottish football relationship

It was in 1986, however, when he began his special relationship with Scottish football, joining the SFA where he acted as Roxburgh’s assistant for the national team. He oversaw the youth teams, enjoying success with the country’s Under-16s and Under-21s, guiding the former to the World Championship final on home turf in 1989 where the team were defeated by Saudi Arabia before taking the latter to the semi-finals of the European Championships three years later.

Former Scotland manager Craig Brown has died aged 82. Picture: SNSFormer Scotland manager Craig Brown has died aged 82. Picture: SNS
Former Scotland manager Craig Brown has died aged 82. Picture: SNS

With Scotland failing to qualify for the World Cup in 1994, Brown took the top job in 1993, leading the country to Euro 96 and France 98. The team narrowly missed out on Euro 2000 and then, after failing to reach the 2002 World Cup, Brown stepped aside. He remains the last man to manage Scotland at a World Cup.

Scotland boss Steve Clarke said: “He was a student of the game and I am proud to say that I followed in his footsteps by taking a Scotland team back to a major tournament.”

Brown returned to club management, taking charge of Preston North End for more than 100 matches before taking Motherwell to fifth in 2010. He and assistant Archie Knox were tempted to join Aberdeen the following season due to their impressive work at Fir Park. Even after being replaced by Derek McInnes at Pittodrie, Brown stayed and would become a director and club ambassador.

Aberdeen chairman Dave Cormack said: “He was one of those rare individuals who was not only effective at what he did but universally loved by all who got to know him. A gentleman who loved his family, friends, and football.”



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