SCOTTISH football legend Sir Alex Ferguson is in hospital after emergency surgery for a brain haemorrhage.

His former club Manchester United released a statement last night saying: “Sir Alex Ferguson has undergone surgery today for a brain haemorrhage. The procedure has gone very well but he needs a period of intensive care to aid his recovery. His family request privacy in this matter. Everyone at Manchester United sends our very best wishes.”

Sir Alex's son, Darren Ferguson – manager of Doncaster Rovers – was not in attendance at his team’s Saturday fixture against Wigan.

Ferguson spent 26 years at Manchester United and won a string of trophies and competitions, including the Champions League twice. He is widely regarded as one of football’s greatest ever managers.

The 76-year-old, who was born in Glasgow, played for Dunfermline and Rangers in his early career, and began coaching at East Stirlingshire and St Mirren before going on to Aberdeen. He became Scotland manager for a short period after Jock Stein’s death in 1986.

After years of success on the field, he was awarded a knighthood in the Queen’s birthday honours list in 1999, and was replaced by David Moyes at Manchester United when he retired in 2013, although he continued at the club as a director and ambassador.

After the news broke, Aberdeen FC tweeted: “The thoughts and prayers of everyone connected with Aberdeen Football Club are with our former manager, Sir Alex Ferguson, and his family following tonight’s news.”

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said: “My thoughts are with Alex Ferguson and his family – wishing him a full and speedy recovery.”

Football pundit and Sunday Herald sports columnists, Derek Rae, added that there would "never be a better manager to me and many others of my generation than Sir Alex Ferguson. Finger crossed, Fergie.”

During his time at Manchester United, Ferguson won 13 Premier League titles – the last of which in his final season - and five FA Cups. He was awarded the Freedom of the City in both Aberdeen and Glasgow in 1999, and in Manchester in 2000, followed by the Borough of Trafford in 2013.

Ferguson made a high profile public appearance earlier this month to present long-time rival Arsene Wenger, who is leaving the manager’s post at Arsenal after 21 years, with a trophy to mark his career.