Aberdeen: Derek McInnes 'devastated' at death of Neale Cooper

Neale Cooper (8) scores Aberdeen's fourth goal in the 4-1 Scottish Cup final win over Rangers in 1982
Neale Cooper (8) scores Aberdeen's fourth goal in the 4-1 Scottish Cup final win over Rangers in 1982

Derek McInnes says he is "devastated" by the loss of Neale Cooper as he paid tribute to the Aberdeen great.

Cooper - who helped the Dons lift the European Cup Winners' Cup in 1983 - died on Monday at the age of 54 after collapsing at the weekend.

"He lit up a room and was such a likeable guy," Aberdeen manager McInnes told the club's website.

"He was one of life's good guys and we will ultimately be a poorer club without him around."

As well as the European triumph over Real Madrid, Cooper won two league titles, four Scottish Cups, one League Cup and a European Super Cup while at Pittodrie.

He also played for Rangers, Dunfermline and Aston Villa, and managed Ross County, Hartlepool United, Gillingham and Peterhead.

"I'm devastated by the loss of Neale," added McInnes, 46. "It's so desperately unfair on Neale and his family to be taken at such a young age.

"Although I had encountered Neale previously, I got to know him better in recent years and he had this unique ability of making me and other people feel instantly better.

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'He will never be forgotten' - McLeish tribute to Cooper

"He lit up a room and was such a likeable guy. He was one of life's good guys and we will ultimately be a poorer club without him around.

"Neale would often stick his head in to my office on a matchday, always quick with a joke. He often used to say he had his boots with him and was ready to play.

"He was always very supportive of myself and my players and it's clear he defended Aberdeen fiercely at every turn and on a personal basis I will be eternally grateful to him for that.

"His greatness on the pitch will forever be cherished but his greatness will always be felt by everyone associated with Aberdeen. We'll all miss him terribly."

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