Aberdeen’s record goalscorer Joe Harper paid tribute to his close friend Frank McDougall following his death at the age of 65.
McDougall, who died on Sunday, scored 44 goals in 69 appearances for the Dons between 1984 and 1987 before being forced to retire from football at the age of 29 due to a back injury.
Harper and McDougall were never teammates at Aberdeen but they became close friends through their association with the Dons.
Harper said: “I got to know Frank really well. He was a brilliant boy.
“We did a lot of events together and he was a really nice guy.
“He would do anything for you.
“He was a great goalscorer.
“He always told me if he hadn’t had his injury problems he would have surpassed my goalscoring record.
“We used to have a laugh about that together.
“He was a brilliant guy and a lot of fun.
“We did a lot of events and dinners together.
“We did a question and answer at the Tivoli recently.
“He was a clever guy and you were always laughing when you were around him.
“He had a great way with people.”
A hero for the Aberdeen support
McDougall was a huge fan favourite at the Dons, helped in no small part by scoring all three goals in a 3-0 win against Hearts as Aberdeen clinched the league title at Tynecastle in 1985.
The following season he netted all four goals in a memorable 4-1 win against Celtic and played his part in helping the Dons to a Scottish Cup and League Cup double.
A persistent back injury meant McDougall, who also played for Clydebank and St Mirren, was forced to retire before he turned 30.
Harper said: “He made a real impact at Aberdeen, especially that game when he scored four goals against Celtic.
“What a performance that was.
“He was a natural goalscorer.
“He was very similar to myself. He had great movement in the penalty box.
“Great strikers always anticipate things and Frank always seemed to know where the ball was going to end up when a cross came into the area.”
Always had time for the fans
Harper said McDougall was hugely touched by his inclusion in the Aberdeen hall of fame last year.
He was unable to attend the ceremony after being diagnosed with lung cancer but was guest of honour at Aberdeen’s match against Livingston at Pittodrie in February, when he received a warm reception from the Red Army.
Harper added: “Frank was a proud guy.
“I knew Frank when he was at St Mirren because Morton and St Mirren are big rivals and I came from Greenock.
“We were friends from the first moment we met.
“He came from a working class family, like myself.
“I was proud for my parents that I made it as a footballer and Frank was exactly the same.
“He had a lot of love for his family.
“He was never big-headed. A humble guy who did well.
“He loved scoring goals for the fans.
“It is the greatest feeling in the world when you make people happy.
“We would speak to each other on the phone a lot.
“He would always tell me when he was coming up to Aberdeen and we’d meet up.
“I tried to get him into doing the hospitality at Pittodrie, like I do.
“He did it once but he started to have his health problems soon after.
“He had his pub in Aberdeen and it was busy because it was owned by Frank McDougall.
“He would always be happy to speak to people. He was a really special guy.”