The world of football mourns the loss of Craig Brown, the last man to lead Scotland to a World Cup finals.
Brown, who passed away at the age of 82, will be remembered as the national team’s longest-serving manager, having helmed the squad for 71 games from 1993 to 2001.
His tenure saw Scotland qualify for both Euro 96 and the 1998 World Cup, leaving an indelible mark on the country’s footballing history.
Born in 1940, Craig Brown’s passion for the beautiful game was evident from an early age. After a modest playing career with Dundee and Falkirk, he transitioned into coaching and management.
Brown spent nine years as the manager of Clyde, starting in 1977 while working as a primary school head teacher. During this time, he impressed with his tactical acumen and ability to nurture young talent, catching the attention of the Scottish Football Association.
In 1986, Brown was invited to join Alex Ferguson’s backroom staff for the World Cup in Mexico. Serving as an assistant coach, he gained valuable experience and knowledge from one of the greatest football minds of all time.
Brown continued as an assistant to Andy Roxburgh, helping Scotland reach the 1990 World Cup and the Euro 92 finals.
When the chain of qualifying for five successive World Cups was broken, Brown was handed the reins as Scotland’s manager. Initially stepping in as an interim boss, he oversaw a 3-1 defeat away to Italy.
However, it was under his full leadership that the national team achieved notable successes. Brown’s tactical acumen and ability to bring the best out of his players resulted in a remarkable run that saw Scotland qualify for Euro 96 and the 1998 World Cup.
One of the standout moments of Brown’s tenure came during the qualification campaign for the 1998 World Cup.
In a bizarre turn of events, Scotland kicked off against no opposition in Tallinn as Estonia protested a late change in the kick-off time.
This unusual match became one of the quirkier footnotes in Scottish football history.
At the 1998 World Cup in France, Scotland faced a daunting task, opening their campaign against the mighty Brazil in Paris.
Although they fell short with a 2-1 defeat, Brown’s team displayed resilience and determination, earning the respect of fans and pundits alike.
Beyond his achievements with the national team, Craig Brown also had a successful club management career.
He managed Preston North End and Motherwell before ending his managerial career at Aberdeen in 2013.
Afterward, he moved into a board position at Pittodrie, solidifying his connection to the club he had devoted so much of his life to.
Craig Brown was not only a talented football manager but also a beloved figure within the football community. Known for his friendly and approachable nature, he touched the lives of many as a mentor and confidante.
His dedication to the sport and his family was unwavering, and his impact on Scottish football will be remembered for generations to come.
In recognition of his contributions, Brown was awarded a CBE in 1999 for his services to football.
The honour was a testament to his enduring legacy and the admiration he garnered from fans and colleagues alike.
As news of his passing spread, tributes poured in from across the footballing world, each acknowledging the loss of a true gentleman and a remarkable figure in Scottish football.