In 1962 Craig Brown shared the league winning dressing room with Alan Gilzean. Last month he performed alongside Kyogo Furuhashi at the PFA Scotland Awards.
Brown’s illustrious life linked entire eras of Scottish football. And its relevance remained throughout.
As a member, coach, instructor, assistant supervisor, warden and director of participation, he presented intelligence, innovation, enthusiasm, courtesy and a generally understated desire to succeed. He has reached nice questions. And the big ones trusted him.
The name, which Brown considered “probably my greatest honour”, came here while he was a lecturer at Crage College in Ayr, and also served as part-time manager of Clyde.
Alex Ferguson was on his way. “Brown, how about a lifetime vacation?” were his opening phrases.
Craig Brown pictured with the Scottish Tartan Army striker during the 1998 World Cup opener against Brazil at the Stade de France.
Browne’s achievements in leading Scotland to Euro ’96 and the 1998 World Cup in France were only recognized after twenty years of failure that accepted
Brown talks to Sir Alex Ferguson during the Euro 2004 play-off between Scotland and the Netherlands – he was Fergie’s jobber at the 1986 World Cup in Mexico.
After the loss of Jock Stein’s life, Ferguson took Scotland to the 1986 World Cup, the last to be held in Mexico. He wanted Brown to pin Walter Smith and Archie Knox on his teachers. The response was quick. Brown packed his luggage.
It may be another 15 years after he stepped down as Scotland supervisor in 2001 before all of his achievements on a national scale could be unpacked, sorted and examined. But even then it seemed too closed to be properly appreciated.
The extent of Brown’s work only became apparent as the nation waited twenty years for an additional Grand Final appearance.
Without a doubt, he is a major figure in the Scottish sporting story.
Brown was blessed with some great players, but not the depth of sparkling quality that some of his predecessors got. He made his groups cohesive. He usually discovered opportunities.
Costing 70 video games, more than any other Scottish supervisor, he created collective memories.
Brown’s checklist for entering the majors is extraordinary. After his time in Mexico, he reached the World Cup and European Championships as Andy Roxburgh’s assistant, in addition to managing Scotland’s youth teams.
In 1989, he coached the under-16s to reach the World Championship final. Three years later, he led the U-21 team to the semi-finals of the European Championship.
Appointed Scotland manager in December 1993, he reached Euro 96 and the 1998 World Cup.
Brown relaxes with Paul Lambert and Darren Jackson at a restaurant during the 1998 World Cup
Brown offers pointers ahead of 1-1 draw with Norway at Bordeaux 1998
Failure to qualify for the next two tournaments clouded opinion and led to Brown’s departure. Here was the context for the subsequent woes under Berti Vogts.
Those members of the Tartan Army who were a bit tired of Brown quickly bided their time. Seven managers, some more senior than others, would come and go before Steve Clarke ended his 23-year exile from the sport’s biggest stages.
In the meantime, the memories of 1998 gained special energy. In the opening sport, Scotland took on compatriots Brazil, watched by almost a third of the world’s population on television.
Bruin’s biggest downside? How to stop Ronaldo. He referred to Bobby Robson, who had coached the unbeaten striker at PSV Eindhoven and Barcelona.
“You can’t stop him,” was a less than reassuring suggestion. “He’s unstoppable.”
For this reason, Brown has decided to cut off his supply line. A meticulous sporting plan included a collection of strikes from Darren Jackson to try and slow down Roberto Carlos. It almost paid off.
Brown guides Barry Ferguson through Euro 2000 qualifiers, 2-1 defeat to England.
Although the 2-1 defeat, sealed by Tom Boyd’s botched personal goal, added another glorious bust to Scotland’s rich historical past with such questions, the excitement was undoubtedly preserved for the billions of spectators.
As a member, Brown had been a student around the world, leaving half. Good enough to signal Rangers. There was no way he was looking at Ibrox, no matter how famous manager Scott Simon was.
“If he subconsciously influenced my career, it would have been a reaffirmation that there is nothing wrong with being polite and that kindness should never be confused with gentleness,” Brown said.
A move to Dundee brought further involvement and a league medal as part of Bob Shankly’s legendary 1961-62 campaign. aspect of the year.
But his profession, which he likes, was limited. He was forced to retire at the age of 27 after his fifth knee operation.
By then, Brown had already qualified as an SFA teacher. He became Willie McLean’s assistant manager at Motherwell and spent three years at Fir Park before succeeding Billy McNeill – a long-time Scottish Schoolboys teammate – as Clyde manager in 1977.
Brown’s time as Scotland boss here ended in October 2001 after failing to win the World Cup in Japan and South Korea.
Brown’s 9 years at Shawfield saw a previous Second Division championship and a metamorphosis of the membership funds, largely thanks to his knowledgeable membership. Steve Archibald, Pat Nevin, Ian Ferguson and Gary McCabe were among those who offered returns.
Off the field, Brown was also concerned about landing Clyde BOC – the British Oxygen Company – as one of many early shirt sponsors in Scottish football. He knew the course of travel throughout the sport. That would be staying power.
Scotland was the middle of his working life, but there was much more to it. Appointed at the age of 61, two years at Preston North End saw further wins and the introduction of successor Billy Davies.
I then had an eventful 12 months here at Motherwell, with Knox as assistant. Brown took them to Europe and witnessed an unthinkable 6-6 draw with Hibs. “I coached offense, Archie coached defense,” he joked.
The trip to Aberdeen caused resentment. On his return to Fir Park with his new membership in April 2011, he clashed with Motherwell chairman John Boyle in a flashpoint that made headlines in addition to the SFA’s punishments for each.
After the nationwide staff, Brown went on to oversee Preston, Motherwell and Aberdeen
Brown announced his intention to retire in 2013 and became a non-executive director on the Aberdeen board after Derek McInnes took over HR.
His time in teaching was over at the age of 72 – 36 years after he paid Clyde – but age did not keep him from the stage.
In these articles and speeches about sports, Brown was always useful for notes or insights.
He liked to figure out what was going on. He could possibly be insanely humorous with tales that are not meant to be published. He was rightly considered one thing akin to a national treasure.
Brown attended PFA Scotland last month’s dinner at Knox to simply accept the Lifetime Achievement Award on behalf of Ferguson. His face was scarred and his voice was weak, but the identical spirit was there.
Sitting in the same room with reporters, he gave an easy nod to a pleasant Knox as his former good friend was interviewed. The dialogue then turned to Scotland’s prospects in Oslo and how Erling Haaland can be taken care of.
You almost had the feeling that he wanted to do it all over again. But he did more than enough in his personal time. Sports has destroyed one of its greatest servants to this nation.