Craig Brown: Scotland’s longest-serving manager dies aged 82

By Democrat reporter

BBC Scotland Sport is reporting that Craig Brown, the last man to take Scotland to a World Cup finals, has died at the age of 82.

The national team’s longest-serving manager, he was in charge for 71 games from 1993 to 2001, qualifying for Euro 96 and the 1998 World Cup.

He was also on the staff for the 1986 and 1990 finals.

Brown managed Preston North End and Motherwell before ending his career at Aberdeen in 2013 and moving into a board position at Pittodrie.

“Since 2010 Craig performed the roles of manager, director and ambassador,” said Aberdeen chairman Dave Cormack.

“Craig was a friend to all of us at the club, and a mentor and confidante to many.

“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.”

Awarded a CBE in 1999 for services to football, the former Dundee and Falkirk player spent nine years as manager of Clyde, starting out in 1977 while working as a primary school headteacher.

Having impressed with Scotland as a youth-level coach, he was asked to join Alex Ferguson’s backroom team for the 1986 World Cup and would go on to serve as Andy Roxburgh’s assistant, reaching the 1990 World Cup and Euro 92 finals.

Ferguson described Brown as a “thoroughly wonderful man” in statement released by the League Managers Association.

The former Aberdeen and Manchester United manager added: “Craig and I had been friends since Scotland schools team in 1957/58, with Craig as captain.

“When I was given the honour of managing Scotland at the World Cup finals in Mexico there was one man I had to take, for all his attributes and knowledge, that was Craig.

“He had a great career as a manager of several clubs but his service for his country stands out.

“In an industry that questions a man’s capabilities, Craig never wavered in that situation, he always kept his head and his composure. Well done Broon!”

Ferguson (right) and Brown played in the same Scotland schoolboys team in the 1950s
Ferguson (right) and Brown played in the same Scotland schoolboys team in the 1950s

Brown replaced Roxburgh when the chain of qualifying for five successive World Cups was broken, firstly overseeing a 3-1 loss away to Italy as interim boss.

Thereafter, his overall record with Scotland was 32 wins, 18 draws and 20 defeats.

There were away wins in Germany and England, while on the road to France 98, Scotland famously kicked off against no opposition in Tallinn as Estonia protested against a late change in kick-off time. After qualifying, Brown’s team opened the tournament against Brazil in Paris, losing 2-1.

“Craig led the way in bringing sustained qualification to the men’s national team, first as assistant to Andy Roxburgh and then in his own right,” current Scotland boss Steve Clarke said on the Scottish Football Association website.

“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.

“The thoughts of the players and my backroom staff go to Craig’s family and friends at this difficult time.”

A statement from former club Motherwell said: “An icon and influential figure of Scottish football, Brown will forever be remembered for his astonishing achievements within the game and as a likeable character on and off the pitch. He will be missed by everyone.”

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