Bobby Brown: Former Scotland goalkeeper and manager dies aged 96

Bobby Brown
Bobby Brown managed Scotland for four years

Former Scotland goalkeeper and manager Bobby Brown has died at the age of 96.

A Rangers Hall of Fame inductee, he made 296 appearances in 10 years at Ibrox, winning eight trophies, including an unprecedented domestic treble.

Brown won five caps before retiring and becoming St Johnstone manager in 1958.

He was named Scotland's first full-time manager nine years later and famously led the national side to a 3-2 win at Wembley over then-world champions England in his first competitive game.

Brown began his senior career at Queen's Park in 1939 before his stint at the club was disrupted by World War Two, the goalkeeper serving in the Fleet Air Arm of the Royal Navy.

He joined Rangers in 1946 and, across his near-300 outings, kept 109 clean sheets. Between August 1946 and April 1952, he embarked on a remarkable run of 179 consecutive league starts, never missing a match, while combining football with a job as a schoolmaster.

Brown won three Scottish titles, three Scottish Cups and two Scottish League Cups, helping Rangers become the first treble-winning team in 1948.

After 10 years at the club, Falkirk bought Brown, who retired from playing a season later.

He became manager of St Johnstone, propelling the Perth side from the second tier to the top flight, before being named Scotland boss in 1967.

The national team's first full-time manager, he took Scotland on a 10-game tour of Israel, Hong Kong, Australia and New Zealand, winning each of the friendly matches.

But Brown is perhaps best known for guiding the Scots to their historic Wembley triumph, inflicting the reigning world champions' first loss in 19 fixtures since their famous triumph of 1966.

Scotland narrowly failed to qualify for the 1970 World Cup and Brown became "thoroughly fed up" by the frustrations of the role, citing the unhelpfulness of some club managers when their players were called up for international duty.

When he stepped down in 1971, he only remained in football in a scouting capacity, helping his wife run several shops and a cafe called the Copper Cauldron.

Rangers will hold a minute's silence in memory of Brown before Friday night's Scottish Cup visit of Stranraer.

'Iconic figure swooping around his goal' - analysis

Former football commentator Archie Macpherson on BBC Radio Scotland's Good Morning Scotland

I met Bobby Brown about four years ago, I think it was at a function at Hampden Park, for the first time in years. He would have been 92 then and it was astonishing - he looked middle-aged, bronzed, fit-looking, like a man who had been at the gym every day at that astonishing age.

I reflected on when I first saw him. My grandfather used to take me on the bus, all the way across Glasgow from the east end to Hampden to watch Queen's Park and Third Lanark the other week and I saw Bobby Brown then.

In those days, the Queen's Park goalkeeper wore a black jersey with a white band round the middle and I remember the supporters called him "Boy Brown" because he was so young and had come straight from school to play for Queen's Park.

He had this contrast between the blonde mop and the black jersey and it made him a kind of iconic figure swooping around his goal. I know the term swallow might seem like a cliche, but he exemplified it - immensely athletic, lithe, he was born to be a goalkeeper.

I got to know him better when he became Scotland manager. He was always approachable, always cheery, always intelligent.

That glorious, rosy day that Jim Baxter dominated - he put on a cabaret show - against England has made many people forget he was manager.

Unfortunately, I was also there when he finished, again at Wembley, because he was plagued, as many Scotland mangers have been, with call-offs, injuries and so on, so it never worked out the way that he and most of us thought it would.

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