Tributes have been pouring in for former Scotland and Manchester United manager Tommy Docherty who has passed away after a long illness at the age of 92.

The Scotsman, affectionately known as ‘The Doc’,  who began his playing career at Celtic, famously took Manchester United down to the second division in 1974 before bringing the club straight back up as champions.

The Gorbals-born  football legend who began his playing career when he joined junior football club Shettleston and was inducted into the Scottish Football Hall of Fame in 2013, died at home in the north-west of England. His family confirmed the news on Thursday.

A family spokesperson said in a statement released: "Tommy passed away peacefully surrounded by his family at home.

"He was a much-loved husband, father and papa and will be terribly missed.

"We ask that our privacy be respected at this time. There will be no further comment."

Manchester United paid its tribute within minutes of the announcement on social media saying:  "We are deeply saddened by the passing of Tommy Docherty, who led us to FA Cup victory in 1977 with a thrilling, attacking team in the best traditions of Manchester United. Everyone at the club sends sincere condolences to Tommy’s loved ones."

Former Manchester United star Sammy McIlroy said: "He was an unbelievable bloke. He was very witty, always joking, always talking about football. It was a great be in his company."

Scots Manchester United legend Lou Macari said his biggest strength was his personality saying he was a "larger than life character" adding that he once said he had "more clubs than Jack Nicklaus".

He added: "He could make anybody laugh.  In the dressing room, an hour from kick off, he would entertain you from 2pm on a 3pm kick off to 3pm and as a result players relaxed."

Celtic FC also paid respects saying: "We are saddened to hear of the death of Tommy Docherty who spent two years with Celtic in the 1940s. Sincere condolences go out to his family and friends. RIP."

In a managerial career which spanned across nearly three full decades, Mr Docherty also managed Chelsea – where he won the League Cup – Aston Villa and Scotland among numerous other sides, totalling 13 by the time he retired in 1988.


As a player, the former midfielder became a legend for Preston North End, making more than 300 appearances over a nine-year spell at the club, while also spending three years at Arsenal.

He represented Scotland 25 times and was part of the squad that competed in the 1958 World Cup in Sweden.

He famously had the option of retaining each jersey or taking a £15 match fee. He chose the jerseys.

The Scottish FA added its voice to the tributes to Mr Docherty saying it was "deeply saddened" by the news adding that he had been a "successful Scotland manager during an extensive coaching career, winning seven of 12 matches in charge between 1971-72 before joining Manchester United, with whom he won the FA Cup and Second Division title during five years in charge".

Rod Petrie, SFA president: “Football has lost a tremendous personality in Tommy Docherty. He was tenacious on the park and a great leader off it. 

“Tommy was a regular in the Scotland side in the 1950s that qualified for two World Cups, and his record as Scotland manager was impressive, albeit cut short by his decision to take the Manchester United job. 

“He was on record as saying that the biggest regret of his career was leaving his Scotland managerial role and looking at the results and performances he inspired, it is hard not to wonder what might have been had he remained. 

“His charisma and love for the game shone even after he stopped managing and it was entirely fitting that Tommy should be inducted into the Scottish Football Hall of Fame for his lifelong service. Our thoughts are with his family and friends at this difficult time.”

After this playing career came a famous football management career which led him to become  the caretaker manager of Scotland in 1971 before the position was made permanent.

In December 1972, when Frank O'Farrell was sacked as manager of Manchester United, Mr Docherty was poached by Manchester United and he quit his job with Scotland to become manager.

The turning point in his playing career came in 1946 when he was called up for National service in the Highland Light Infantry.

While completing his national service, Mr Docherty represented the British Army at football.

On demobilisation, he was offered a contract with Celtic in 1947.   Mr Docherty would later say that Jimmy Hogan, the club's coach, was his greatest influence.


From left to right, Sandy Jardine, Billy Bremner and Willie Young  listening to Scotland manager Tommy Docherty's tactics ahead of a 1-0 win over Belgium in 1971.

However,  Mr Docherty found first team places hard to come by at Celtic and in November 1949, after spending just over two years  at Parkhead he joined Preston North End.

It was at Preston where he enjoyed the most successful period of his playing career, making over 300 League appearances, and appearing in the 1954 FA Cup Final.

It was while with Preston that he received the first of his full Scotland international caps.

It was at Arsenal where Mr Docherty would make his last regular appearance as a professional footballer, although he subsequently played a few games for Chelsea, retiring in 1962.


Manchester United in a glowing tribute said that the Doc "was a pivotal figure in United’s history, and a charismatic hero to the legions of Reds that came of age watching his team in the 1970s – the decade in which he famously guided the club to promotion from the Second Division".

The club added in its obituary: "In doing so, he not only restored pride and dignity following our relegation, but also succeeded in reconnecting the name Manchester United with the ideals of excitement, bravery and entertainment that Matt Busby had enshrined at Old Trafford during the 1950s and ‘60s. This immense contribution to our story means Docherty will remain firmly embedded in the hearts of those that lived through his dramatic tenure, and memories of both his achievements and larger-than-life personality will endure.

"His zenith came in May 1977, when he led the Reds to the first major post-Busby trophy, by overseeing a pulsating 2-1 triumph over domestic and soon-to-be European champions Liverpool in the FA Cup final.


Flashback: Tommy Docherty, right, with his Scotland squad of 1971

"Remarkably, a celebratory dance across the Wembley turf with the FA Cup trophy lid on his head would prove his final act as United boss. Off-field issues soon overshadowed that golden day in north-west London, and Docherty was replaced by Dave Sexton before the start of the following campaign.

"But in many ways, his job had already been completed."

The obituary concluded: "His teams, his achievements and his huge personality will never be forgotten here at Old Trafford. How could they? When we needed it most, Tommy Docherty gave us some of the best days of our United-supporting lives."