Born: May 5, 1926;

Died: November 26, 2021.

DOUG Cowie, who has died aged 95, was Scotland’s oldest football internationalist. He won 20 caps in the 1950s while playing for Dundee as a highly accomplished left half [nowadays, attacking midfielder] noted for his polished play, the accuracy of his passing and inspiring contribution to the team which he captained regularly.

Essentially a one-club man, he played a record 446 games for the Dark Blues, who won two League Cups, were runners-up in the old First Division Championship, and a Scottish Cup finalist. Deservedly inducted to Dundee’s inaugural Hall of Fame in 2009, his outstanding service was also recognised in Dens Park’s first hospitality suite being named The Doug Cowie Lounge.

After his full Scotland debut against England at Wembley in 1953, he earned 20 caps between then and 1958, including playing at World Cup finals in Switzerland in 1954 and Sweden in 1958. He also won three Scottish League caps and a Scotland ‘B’ cap.

After 16 seasons with Dundee he was freed in 1961 to join Morton as player-coach before managing Raith Rovers for a year, after which he coached and then scouted for Dundee United.

Douglas Cowie was born in Aberdeen to parents Richard, a boxmaker and Williamina. The youngest of seven, he was brought up in Torry, where he attended Walker Street Primary then Torry Secondary. He played for Caledonian Juveniles before joining junior team, St Clement’s, through whom he was selected to represent Aberdeenshire Juniors.

After leaving school at 15 he began an apprenticeship as a riveter with John Lewis shipyard while he started training at Pittodrie as Aberdeen considered signing him. However Dundee beat them to it.

Their colourful manager, Aberdonian George Anderson, appeared unannounced at the shipyard early one morning in 1945 to offer terms to Doug who, unsure what to do, suggested that Anderson speak to his father, who was working nearby. After Mr Cowie received assurances that his son would be well looked after, Doug signed on the dotted line.

It took him some time to establish himself after his debut on February 23, 1946, against Stirling Albion, and he played several times during a tour of Italy, Germany and Austria that year.

By season 1948/9 he was a first-team regular, playing mostly then at centre half. On the season’s final day, Dundee required to beat Falkirk at Brockville to clinch a first top-tier League title but instead lost, allowing Rangers to claim it: It was a huge disappointment for Cowie and his team-mates.

Success in the 1951 League Cup Final against Rangers compensated somewhat. Although the Glasgow side were strong favourites Dundee emerged 3-2 winners after extra time in what was fondly remembered by Cowie as the favourite match of his career. The exuberant welcome back in Dundee from thousands of fans lived long in the memory.

The 4-0 loss to Motherwell in the 1952 Scottish Cup Final lingered much less in the memory, but atonement came in a second successive League Cup win later that year, against Kilmarnock.

Scotland selectors were now taking an interest in Cowie and awarded him a League cap against England, a month before his full international debut at Wembley in which he played well. 19 more caps followed, with four at World Cup finals, including the infamous 7-0 trouncing by Uruguay in 1954. Happily it had no consequences for his international career, a highlight of which was his standout performance in a 4-1 win over Austria in Vienna’s iconic Prater stadium in 1955.

A year before Dundee’s first League title, Cowie was given a free transfer in 1961 by manager Bob Shankly, the reason given being his age, then 35. When Shankly soon after signed 38-year-old Gordon Smith, Cowie’s disappointment was understandable. Matters were not helped when Shankly refused him permission to train with the first team at Dens once he joined Morton, Cowie then training with Dundee United. Typically, any hard feelings were kept to himself and reconciliation was gradually effected.

His input at Morton helped them rise from bottom of the old Second Division to challenge for promotion during his two years there, while, after a year as Raith manager, he coached Dundee United under manager Jerry Kerr, thereafter scouting for them for 26 years once Jim McLean took over. Meanwhile he retrained as a welder and worked with NCR in Dundee.

In June 1950 in Dundee, Doug married Elizabeth [known as Bette] Stewart, a Dundonian whom he had met at the dancing in the city.They enjoyed 56 years of happy marriage together during which they had two children, Douglas and Gloria, as they continued living in Dundee.

Highly regarded as a complete gentleman and well-liked with a sharp sense of humour, one of Doug’s guiding principles was looking after his family, among whom his grandchildren were particularly special, while another was his encouragement of and belief in the importance of a good education.

Outwith family and football he was a versatile sportsman, a good golfer and cricketer. Musically talented, he taught himself piano and guitar. Another interest was as a pigeon fancier: he had his own loft in his back garden from where he would fly birds to France and back.

He is survived by his children, grandchildren Miranda, Gayle, Fraser and Hannah, and great grandchildren Isabelle, Robert and Ember.