Born May 13, 1951; Died October 7, 2014.

Angus MACLeod, who has died aged 63, was an old-school Scottish journalist in the best possible way. A fixture of the political scene for nearly two decades, he bridged the transition between the Scottish Office and Scottish Parliament, hot metal presses and the digital era.

The peak of his career came in April last year when he was formally appointed Scottish editor of The Times, having been acting editor since 2012. With his trademark wit, Mr Macleod joked he was the poor man's Magnus Linklater, a deferential nod to his respected predecessor.

Angus Macleod was born on the Isle of Lewis to parents from Shawbost on the west of the island, his father - who died when Angus was young - a warper at MacKenzie's mill. Rendered homeless after the war, his parents and two brothers were allocated a tenancy in the Plasterfield prefabs on the outskirts of Stornoway, where Angus spent his formative years.

Educated at Sandwickhill Primary, where he began to speak English, rather than Gaelic, Mr Macleod then progressed to the Nicolson Institute. It was Alan Whiteford, then deputy rector, who first steered him towards journalism, involving Mr Macleod and another pupil, Neil Munro, in a school newspaper called Pupil. Another important influence was the teacher Donny B MacLeod, who became a prominent television presenter.

Mr Macleod was keen on sport, a talented footballer and also interested in cricket, and while at school he became a leading member of the Institute's active debating society. After leaving school he read English at Edinburgh University, where contemporaries included the future Scottish Education Secretary Michael Russell.

Dabbling in student journalism covering, as he later put it, "the Second XI against Civil Service Strollers in the back of beyond", only as graduation approached did Mr Macleod consider it seriously as a career.

Like many other aspiring journalists at that time, among them James Naughtie, Mr Macleod became a Thomson Regional Newspaper trainee in Newcastle. From there he joined The Scotsman but was quickly despatched to the paper's London office to cover general news, including the memorable Jeremy Thorpe trial.

Even in those days he had a vivid turn of phrase, describing a lame performance by Hearts in a 1975 derby as "like a man in a boiler suit at a Royal garden party - completely out of place". And like many of his contemporaries, Mr Macleod imbibed not only news but alcohol, something he attributed to being a man from the islands in a profession like journalism.

When the short-lived Sunday Standard was established in 1981, Mr Macleod returned to Scotland to join its impressive cast of journalistic talent, and after it folded two years later he went freelance, augmenting the thinly staffed Scottish offices of several London-based titles. In 1986, however, he opted for the more secure berth of political editor at the Sunday Mail, staying at Anderston Quay, Glasgow, for more than a decade.

Although it was difficult to discern Mr Macleod's personal views, he had excellent contacts in the Labour Party and frequently upset the then Conservative Government with his scoops. A meticulous reporter, he was also well known for hyperbolic outbursts on the significance of whatever dominated that day's news agenda ("huge" being a favourite adjective). But his colleagues valued the depth and rigour of his political knowledge.

He was, in short, a workaholic, and also at this stage an alcoholic. On being informed in 1991 that just one more drink would probably kill him, he stopped immediately, instead switching to cigarettes.

And having put his health problems behind him, professional accolades flowed. In 1994 he was voted Journalist (and Reporter) Of The Year, Lord McCluskey praising his attacking and aggressive style; in 1997 he was also named Specialist Writer Of The Year.

His career was rarely dull. In 1996 he covered Bill Clinton's second-term presidential campaign in America, at one point telling the leader of the Western world to take it easy, while at the same time he lamented the gradual professionalisation of UK politics. "Conferences are now the political equivalent of Prozac," he wrote in a 1998 column. "Instead of the red meat of political combat, the only disputes are over what restaurant to eat in."

In 1999 he moved to the Scottish Daily Express when it was still, as he later reflected, "a real newspaper", but after only a couple of years covering the new Scottish Parliament, he was ousted along with all but two full-time staff when Richard Desmond took ownership of the group. By then he had also married Jan, a Yorkshire woman who gave him much stability and happiness in the last decade-and-a-half of his life.

The Times offered Mr Macleod a berth the same day he left the Express, and although he was offered the position of political editor at The Herald he declined and spent the rest of his career at the Thunderer.

Although he had a rich sense of humour Mr Macleod could, on occasion, take himself too seriously. When in 2005 a Sunday Herald diary item referred to his "powers of invention" he sued for defamation, arguing it gave readers the impression he was a disreputable journalist who made up stories rather than investigated them. In early 2007 Lord Macphail dismissed the claim.

That same year The Times beefed up its Scottish edition prior to the SNP's first Holyrood election win. As Scottish political editor Mr Macleod was never short of stories, particularly as independence - about which he was apprehensive - came to dominate the news agenda.

At the same time Mr Macleod also enjoyed a secondary career as a broadcaster, deploying his wit and rich Stornoway accent as a pundit on television and radio, becoming Good Morning Scotland's regular Saturday newspaper reviewer.

When, for example, Jack McConnell sacked several colleagues on becoming First Minister in 2001 Mr Macleod quipped that "in politics, revenge is a dish best served as often as possible", while before the 2011 Holyrood election he was one of the few commentators to predict the SNP's landslide victory.

It was a source of much frustration to Mr Macleod his cancer and resulting treatment did not allow him to engage more fully with the recent referendum campaign, though he did as much as he was able. Ink, as the old cliche went, flowed through his veins, and he actively resented the shift to free online news.

"If journalism is worth anything," he said in 2013, "it must be given a value and allowing access to content without charging is a highly specialised form of suicide."

Angus Macleod died at Gartnavel Hospital, Glasgow. He is survived by wife Jan, as well as brothers Alan and Dr Norman Macleod, the latter formerly a lecturer at Edinburgh University.

l Jim Cassidy, former editor of the Sunday Mail, writes: "Scotland has lost one of the most distinctive and authoritative voices and British journalism has lost one of the greatest communicators of his generation. He never lost his enthusiasm for journalism or his resolve to source the truth.

"He used to burst into my room and with his Hebridean lilt announce, 'I have a howitzer, a real howitzer that will blow the rest of them out the water.' The truth was, his exclusive after exclusive did often blow the other newspapers out of the water and more often than not the 'howitzer' set the Scottish news agenda for the week.

"When he conveyed to me recently about his illness I told him I was just back from Stornoway and had been struck by the sense of pride the people in the islands had of him. People who had been at school with Angus, people who knew his family or just knew him through radio and newspapers talked in glowing terms of Angus Macleod. In reality, thousands of people throughout Scotland had that same sense of pride; they were proud of Angus Macleod."