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Lights, camera, action . . . McDougall tunes in as McGinn targets strike action of his own

IT is one of life's rich ironies that Frank McDougall had to wait until the age of 53 before he finally moved abroad.

Frank McDougall in imperious  form for Aberdeen at Pittodrie in November 1985
Frank McDougall in imperious form for Aberdeen at Pittodrie in November 1985

The former Aberdeen striker is now living in Brazil, but if he had been playing in the modern era, he would surely have earned a lucrative foreign transfer. McDougall was so prolific during his time at Pittodrie, that he was Europe's third top marksman. With football being so global now, it's fair to assume that McDougall's predatory instincts would not have gone unnoticed for long.

The man who swopped the Granite City for Brasilia in 2011 will be watching to see if Niall McGinn can equal his club record of scoring in eight consecutive league games when they take on Celtic, yet McDougall was robbed of the chance to witness his own demolition of the Parkhead side exactly 27 years ago. McDougall scored all four goals in Aberdeen's 4-1 rout at Pittodrie in November 1985, but a strike by television employees kept everyone else in the dark.

"I am the only Aberdeen player in history to get four goals against Celtic and the rest of Scotland never saw it," said McDougall, now 54. "The television cameramen went on strike. I remember Sir Alex Ferguson was furious. I was gutted. How often do you get the chance to do that to Celtic? I will be able to see something from the game at Pittodrie, even if it's just on the internet. I watched both of Celtic's Champions League matches against Barcelona.

"I moved to Brasilia last year with my wife, Isabel, because it's her home town, but I have sent Niall McGinn an email wishing him the best of luck. Records are there to be broken and if he matches my eight in a row by scoring against Celtic, he will deserve recognition."

McDougall became a cult hero to Aberdeen fans during two-and-a-half-prolific seasons as Ferguson's team won successive Premier League titles in 1984 and 1985 before a back injury suddenly forced him out of the game aged 29 in January, 1987. The Glaswegian was a frequent thorn in the side of Celtic, which is ironic due to the fact he was a fan of the club, and his biggest regret was that he never got the chance to pull on a green and white shirt, unlike McGinn, before his switch to Pittodrie last summer.

"Billy McNeill tried to buy me for Celtic in 1979, just after they had become champions," recalls McDougall." I was at Clydebank and had scored 28 goals for them in the Premier League. Celtic offered £140,000 for me but then St Mirren came in and offered £180,000, which was a Scottish record at the time. It would have been great to play for Celtic. I grew up in Cadder and, like all my friends at St Augustine's secondary, I supported Celtic. But going to Love Street was a great move for me because Saints had a great team then, with my mate Billy Stark, and I did so well that Fergie bought me for Aberdeen to replace Mark McGhee."

McGhee's transfer to European Cup holders, SV Hamburg, in January 1984 proved prefect timing for McDougall. "I was the top scorer in the Premier League in 1984-85 with 24 goals," he adds. "That got me the European Bronze boot as the third highest scorer on the whole continent. No Aberdeen striker had a better goals-per-game ratio than me, and I would have score many more if I had not had to pack it in at 29.

"My time at Aberdeen was fantastic. We had a great team and we ruled Scottish football. We won every trophy going, but the two titles were the best. It has been a long time since the fans at Pittodrie have had anything to really celebrate. The club was in the doldrums before I left and gates were down to about 6000. A lot of managers have come and gone, but Craig Brown has made them tough to beat again, and found a goalscorer in McGinn. I hope they get a sellout at Pittodrie against Celtic. With Rangers out of the league, it is wide open, and if Aberdeen beat Celtic, it would show they have the bottle to match the champions."

After so long spent by the North Sea, one might have expected McDougall to have made his new home next to the Copacabana when he sold his pub in Aberdeen. Yet, he chose to settle some 500 miles from the nearest beach. "Brasilia is in the middle of the country and is my wife's home town. I am in the process of setting up a football academy for kids here because I just love the game."

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