Former Scotland manager Craig Brown has died at the age of 82, his family confirmed on Monday.
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 men’s national side between 1993 and 2001.
He is the last man to take Scotland to a World Cup finals, leading the team out for the opening match of the 1998 tournament in France, where Scotland lost 2-1 to a star-studded Brazil side in Paris.
”Craig died peacefully today after a short illness in University Hospital, Ayr, surrounded by close family members,” Brown’s family said in a statement.
”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.
”At this particularly sad time the family now requests that their privacy is respected during the grieving process.”
Born in Glasgow in 1940, Brown’s short playing career was ended early by a series of knee injuries.
But the former schoolteacher also led Scotland to the European Championship in 1996 and was involved in a coaching capacity in three other major tournaments.
The ex-Rangers and Dundee player managed Clyde before his international coaching career, which also included leading Scotland Under-16s to a World Cup final and the under-21s to a European semi-final.
Brown was manager of Scotland from 1993 until 2001. He later managed Preston, Motherwell and Aberdeen before becoming a director at Pittodrie.
Current Scotland manager Steve Clarke said: “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.
“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.”#
Sir Alex Ferguson, who has also been at the helm of both Aberdeen and Scotland, paid tribute to his long-standing friend and colleague.
“It was with great sadness to hear of the passing of Craig Brown, a thoroughly wonderful man, and my thoughts are with his family,” the former Aberdeen and Manchester United manager said in a statement released by the League Managers Association.
“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!”
Tributes pour in for Brown
Many of Brown’s former clubs paid tribute to Brown on Monday.
A statement from Aberdeen read: “Everyone at Aberdeen FC is heartbroken by the loss of our beloved former manager, director and club ambassador, Craig Brown.
“A dear friend to us all, Craig will be sorely missed and our love and condolences are with his family at this terribly sad time.”
Brown 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.
Political figures also paid tribute to Brown following the news of his death.
First Minister Humza Yousaf said: “A towering figure of the Scottish game, Craig Brown and the Scotland team he managed gave us many good memories over the years.
“You would be hard pressed to find a man who loved Scotland as passionately as he did.”
Scottish Conservative leader Douglas Ross said: “So sorry to hear of the passing of former Scotland manager Craig Brown.
“He was a superb national team boss – the last to lead the men’s team to a World Cup finals – and regarded as one of football’s real gentlemen. My thoughts are with his family and friends at this sad time.”
Former first minister Nicola Sturgeon said: “So sorry to hear that Craig Brown has died. I last saw him in March at my uncle’s retirement from Ayr Racecourse. He was in fine form – full of laughs and anecdotes from his life in football.
“He was an outstanding manager of Scotland National Team and a truly lovely man.”