Former Scotland international Jim McInally believes it’s only in recent times that Craig Brown’s success with the national team has been fully appreciated.
McInally – who won 10 international caps – worked with Brown when he was assistant manager to Scotland boss Andy Roxburgh between 1986 and 1993.
During that period the Dark Blues qualified for the 1990 World Cup and 1992 European Championship. When Brown succeeded Roxburgh as manager he led Scotland to the 1996 European Championship and the World Cup two years later.
Former Peterhead manager McInally said: “The most important thing to say about Craig is that he was a nice man and a good human being.
“That’s the most important thing, but as far as football goes his organisation and his detail was unbelievable.
“Whether it was tactics or what the subs were wearing in the dugout he was so specific and detailed in how he wanted things done.
“As both assistant manager and manager of Scotland his record was brilliant.
“He got some brilliant results over that period, he took us to a European Championship and a World Cup as manager, those are amazing feats and that was when it was harder to qualify than it is now.
“I think the job he did with Scotland has been appreciated a lot more as time has gone on.
“Up until we got to the last Euros in 2021 it had been impossible for us to qualify.
“That in itself shows how good a job he did in taking us to two tournaments as manager.
“When you think back of all the people who have been kind to you, all the good times you’ve had and the privileges you’ve enjoyed through football… I just can’t thank people enough for the kindness and the enjoyment I’ve had in the game.”
Craig Brown, 1940 – 2023 pic.twitter.com/8aSaDFZJDT
— Scotland National Team (@ScotlandNT) June 26, 2023
“He got to another two major championships with Andy Roxburgh, that’s a remarkable record.
“Craig was a big part of Andy’s management team, he was probably more than an assistant manager, I always thought of them almost as co-managers.
“I came across him over the years, particularly for a couple of years when he was at Aberdeen and I was at Peterhead and he was a lovely man.
“It’s a sad day, my condolences go out to his family. He’ll be a big loss to football and Aberdeen in particular with the time he’s spent around that club, but obviously his family will feel the biggest loss.”
Made players feel valued
Looking back at when he worked under Brown, McInally added: “He had a tremendous love of the game and what I really liked about him was that he was so down to earth.
“He was a humble man and a story he always used to bring up any time I saw him summed it up for me.
“With Scotland we were preparing to play Italy. I was in the squad to make up the numbers really, we were doing attacking set-pieces and I was meant to be Franco Baresi on the defensive side.
“We were working on this free-kick to get Ally McCoist free for a header at goal and when we did it Ally and I collided and clashed heads and I was sparked out for a few seconds.
“When I looked up there was about a dozen folk standing around Ally and Craig was the only one that was standing around me.
“That summed him up, his attitude was that I was just as important, even though I wasn’t because I wasn’t starting in the game.
“But that was his approach and it made you feel valued. Whenever I saw Craig he always brought up that story.”