26 June 2023

A sparkling and charming human being – football pays tribute to Craig Brown

26 June 2023

Past colleagues and players of Craig Brown have spoken of their recollections of the former Scotland manager following his death at the age of 82.

Here are some of the tributes to the man who led Scotland to consecutive major tournaments in the late 1990s and later managed Preston, Motherwell and Aberdeen.

Former Clyde and Scotland winger Pat Nevin, whose professional career began after an offer from then-Bully Wee manager Brown, wrote on Twitter: “Missing my old gaffer and friend Craig Brown already. What a sparkling, lovely, charming, talented and caring human being. I wouldn’t have had the life I did without him.”

Former Scotland midfielder Craig Burley wrote on Twitter: “Sad news with the passing of Craig Brown. In particular Euro 96 & France 98 stick in the memory as great times to be involved with the Scotland squad. Craig can be proud of how he managed Scotland during his tenure. Great sense of humor & some terrific one liners too.”

Former Scotland international Paul Lambert told Sky Sports News: “He was a brilliant one-liner. He would lay it right on the line for you and knew exactly what you were going to do. He was a really good disciplinarian, taught you great habits.”

League Managers Association chairman Howard Wilkinson said: “You couldn’t help but like Craig. He was great fun, he always had a story or comment to share but his modesty and willingness to help when called upon made him such a good friend. As a professional, he was a great coach educator and proper lover of football. He was very intelligent, like a football professor, but would never try to impress you with his knowledge of the game. He will be missed greatly and our thought are with Craig’s family and friends at this time.”

Former Motherwell defender Stephen Craigan wrote on Twitter: “Football has lost a great man. A man of integrity, honesty, passion and humility. Craig you may be gone but will never be forgotten. You touched the lives of so many in a positive way and inspired players and coaches to be the best they can be. I’m a lucky man to have known you.”

Former Aberdeen goalkeeper Jamie Langfield wrote on Twitter: “Just a story into Craig Brown the manager and person, when he left Aberdeen as manager he sent every player a individual handwritten letter thanking them and put beautiful words to what that individual meant to him, I still have mine in a safe place and will cherish it.”

Walking Football Scotland wrote on Twitter: “Walking Football Scotland mourns the loss of one of our patrons Craig Brown. Craig, a Scottish footballing legend, will be dearly missed by so many. Our thoughts are with his family at this sad time and we are grateful to the incredible support he gave us as patron.”

Aberdeen chief executive Alan Burrows, who served as Motherwell press officer under Brown, wrote on Twitter: “Craig was always brilliant with me. He was brilliant the first day I met him on Tuesday 29 December 2009, and he was brilliant in the last conversation we had a week last Thursday. He could barely make it through a chat without saying something nice, paying an undue compliment or thanking you for something or other, even when he himself was struggling.

“He also had an incredible knack of making you feel ten feet tall. He would always know the right thing to say or do to help you, to reassure you or to inspire you. Most who met him would agree that it would only take one conversation with him to feel as if you had been friends for years, such was his warmth.”

Former Celtic manager Martin O’Neill wrote on Twitter: “Very sad to hear that Craig Brown has passed away. I saw him at a function in Scotland recently and he was wonderful company. Football has lost a great man today.”

Montrose player Craig Brown, writing on Twitter, responded to an interview from his grandfather and namesake that was aired by Sky Sports: “Sometimes you were too modest. Thank you for the memories Papa, and the jelly babies from that pocket.”

First Minister Humza Yousaf wrote on Twitter: “A towering figure of the Scottish game, Craig Brown & 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.”

Former First Minister Nicola Sturgeon wrote on Twitter: “So sorry to hear that Craig Brown has died. I last saw him in March at my uncle’s retirement from @ayrracecourse. He was in fine form – full of laughs and anecdotes from his life in football. He was an outstanding manager of @ScotlandNT and a truly lovely man.”

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