Born: February 11, 1941;

Died: February 15, 2021.

WHEN Ron Brown, the firebrand Scottish Labour MP, sprang towards a startled Mrs Thatcher during her visit to Glasgow in September 1982, William McDougall was one of the police officers who arrested him.

Six years later, when Pan Am flight 103 crashed onto Lockerbie with such catastrophic consequences, it was McDougall who took a key co-ordinating role, establishing grid references and setting up search teams. His support, as his old colleagues recall, was invaluable, his ability to successfully liaise and unite with other emergency services a distinct advantage.

And when he retired from the police, having become Chief Superintendent and appointed Director of Senior Training at the Scottish Police College, Tulliallan, it was into another career altogether, as Security Advisor to the Scottish Football Association.

His duties included ensuring the good behaviour of Scotland fans at Euro 1996 in England and at the World Cup 1998 in France. He spared no attempt in the latter tournament to impress upon the French the ways in which Scots fans differed from their English counterparts, who had often been involved in hooliganism at major events. “I feel that it is important to stress our separate identity at every opportunity”, he told The Herald in January 1998.

William McDougall, who has died aged 80, was well-known to the Tartan Army. One of his fondest memories was walking around the pitch perimeter at the Stade de France, in Paris, just before the opening match in the World Cup, listening to the Scots fans in the 80,000 crowd singing Flower of Scotland. It was, he would recollect, the most amazing sound he had ever heard.

Later, while working for UEFA, he was involved at the Champions League Final 2002 in Glasgow, between Real Madrid and Bayer Leverkusen.

Craig Brown, the former Scotland manager, knew McDougall had a good sense of humour. He once recalled: “We were walking in the marina at Monte Carlo ... when all of a sudden the Tartan Army boys started to appear. You saw the Rab C Nesbitt vests and the kilts pouring down the street.

“Next thing we heard was ‘How’s it goin’, Willie? Look at the size of these boats!’ from this wee lad while looking out over the marina. Willie said, ‘Listen son, they’re not boats, they’re yachts. Very expensive yachts’. He pointed over at this big flashy one and added, ‘That one there belongs to the Aga Khan’. The wee boy then turned round and said ‘Aye, ma maw’s got one of his cookers’.”

William McDougall was born, a middle child with two sisters, in Auchinairn, to William and Lottie.. He left school in 1956 to start an apprenticeship with Blackie and Son Ltd as a bookbinder in Bishopbriggs.

In August 1962 he joined the police as a constable in Lanarkshire. He later worked in Strathaven, Blantyre, East Kilbride and Hamilton, where he was transferred to the CID, and was later appointed Detective Constable. Memories of a murder case in East Kilbride at about this time always remained with him. In 1967 he married Morag, and together they would have two daughters, Karen and Rhona.

His police career saw him rise steadily through the ranks. He was part of the Support Unit at the newly-created Strathclyde Police, then Inspector (1977) at Craigie Street/Aikenhead Road; in 1983, he was Chief Inspector in ‘C’ division. Three years later, he was Superintendent in charge of emergency planning, and would be involved in the responses to the Bearsden floods of 1987 and a rooftop siege at Barlinnie Prison that same year.

In November 1990, he was again promoted, to Chief Superintendent, and appointed Director of Senior Training at the Scottish Police College, Tulliallan, a role in which he excelled. According to his colleagues, his teaching style was memorable, and he had an “amazing” ability to bring every story to life.

He retired in August 1994. He had during his career been involved in crowd control at many football matches, and he was delighted to be able to start work as Security Advisor with the SFA, a post he enjoyed until 2006.

A former colleague of his there recalls: “Willie was extremely popular amongst the staff, well liked for his ever-cheery personality and ability to make people laugh and smile. He was always very supportive of the staff and provided excellent counsel and guidance to many. He was highly regarded for his abilities in carrying out his role, which was evidenced also by UEFA and FIFA calling upon the use of his services.”

UEFA appointed him to the Expert Security Officers' Panel, and he worked as a Security Officer Delegate. He was involved in about 150 top-flight games including Champions League Finals in Glasgow, Istanbul, Moscow, Munich, with UEFA Cup finals in Eindhoven and Dublin, and a UEFA Super Cup Final in Monaco. It was a dream job for someone who loved football (he was a staunch Partick Thistle supporter) as much as he did. In 2008 FIFA appointed him as Match Delegate and Security Officer, and he travelled around the world.

Partly because of his work to promote the intolerance of racism and sectarianism in football, he was honoured, in 2006, to be made an MBE for services to Scottish football.

McDougall was a renowned after-dinner speaker and Burns enthusiast, travelling across the world to speak at events; he was past president of Blantyre Bowling Club, an elder and session clerk at Moncrieff Parish Church, East Kilbride, and a keen golfer, reader and gardener. He is survived by his wife and daughters, sons-in-law Michael and James, and grandchildren Craig, Adam, Ella and Jasmine.