Craig Brown: The last man to manage Scotland at the World Cup

Brown was a hugely popular figure who enjoyed success with the national team.

Former Scotland manager Craig Brown, the last coach to lead the country to the men’s World Cup, has died aged 82. 

Brown, who also managed Clyde, Aberdeen and Motherwell during his 36 years in the dugout, was best known for his eight-year spell in charge of the national team between 1993 and 2001, during which he took the team to Euro 96 and France 98. 

In his first full qualifying campaign, he reached the European Championships in England. 

Despite a 1-0 win over Switzerland in their final game and a draw with the Netherlands in the opener, Scotland crashed out of the tournament on goal difference following a 2-0 defeat to the hosts at Wembley. Gary McAllister famously missed a penalty with the game at 1-0, before Rangers legend Paul Gascoigne made it 2-0 moments later. 

It would be Scotland’s last time at a Euros for 25 years until they finally qualified again in 2020 for a delayed tournament held the following year. 

Craig Brown achieved back-to-back qualifications in the 1990s.

Two years after Euro 96, the Tartan Army were on their way to another major tournament, this time to France and an opening game against world champions Brazil in Paris. 

Scotland fell to defeat despite a spirited display when a Tom Boyd own-goal sealed a tight 2-1 victory for the Ronaldo-inspired samba stars who went on to reach the final. 

A 1-1 draw with Norway followed, before the group stage ended with a disappointing 3-0 defeat to Morocco.  

And 25 years later, Brown remains the last manager to take charge of Scotland’s men on the game’s biggest stage. 

Born in Glasgow in 1940, a short playing career was ended early by a series of knee injuries. 

He signed for Rangers as a 17-year-old, but was unable to break into the first team and had loan spells at Coltness United and Dundee before signing for the Dens Park side in 1961. 

After making 14 league appearances in four years, he moved to Falkirk as a 25-year-old, but he would play his last game in football just two years later when knee issues caught up with him. 

Brown started his management career with Clyde, where he won two Scottish second division titles and had a seven-year spell in charge of Scotland Under 21s before being handed the reins to the top job in 1993 after a spell as assistant to Andy Roxburgh. 

He stepped down from international football after failing to qualify for the World Cup in Japan and South Korea in 2002 and became manager of English Championship side Preston North End. 

After leaving the Lancashire club in 2004 he was out of the game for five years before returning to Scotland to manage Motherwell in 2009.  

After a year at Fir Park, he left to take charge of Aberdeen, where he remained until he retired aged 72 in 2013. 

Brown is survived by his brothers; former commentators Jock and Bob, and his children and grandchildren, including namesake Craig, who played football for University of Stirling while studying.  

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