Dougie Morgan: Tributes paid to former Scotland captain after passing away aged 73

Townsend and McGeechan fondly recall ex-StewMel man

By Bruce McMurray
Sunday, 5th April 2020, 5:12 pm
Updated Sunday, 5th April 2020, 5:13 pm
Dougie Morgan was capped 21 times by Scotland.
Dougie Morgan was capped 21 times by Scotland.

Former Scotland captain Dougie Morgan has died at the age of 73.

Scrum-half Morgan passed away in hospital in Edinburgh after an illness on Saturday night, Scottish Rugby confirmed.

He was capped 21 times for Scotland between 1973 and 1978 and played two Test matches for the British & Irish Lions on their 1977 tour of New Zealand.

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Morgan was a stalwart for Stewart’s Melville, helping them to some notable achievements, not least winning Middlesex Sevens at Twickenham in 1982.

After retiring Morgan moved into coaching and became Scotland head coach in the 1993-94 season.

During his tenure, Scotland reached the Rugby World Cup quarter-finals in South Africa and posted their first victory over France in Paris in 26 years.

In his “day job”, Morgan was a chiropodist at the Jenner’s department store in Edinburgh.

Former Lions manager Sir Ian McGeechan said: “Dougie was a team-mate who became a very good friend during an association with Scottish rugby which covered four decades.

“He was hugely competitive and a talented sportsman - he put up with me on the golf course, an experience which showed his patience and calmness, attributes which made him a perfect manager in later years.

“Dougie had a deep understanding of the game and was tactically very aware. I will never forget him standing on Gareth Edwards’ foot to distract him whilst trying to put the ball into the scrum, an approach which stopped Wales playing and we ultimately won the game. He was also a natural goal kicker.

“He was a great room-mate and always had a mug of tea waiting by the bedside in a morning. He unselfishly helped and supported others. He was also supremely organised, and I often used him as a sounding board when coaching. His support was never better than with Jim Telfer, Derek Grant and myself we had a coaching group which shared ideas, particularly in the build up to the Rugby World Cup in 1991.

“On and off the field he was a great friend and companion. I have memories I will always cherish and be very thankful for knowing Dougie.”

Scotland head coach Gregor Townsend said: “I was really saddened to hear that Dougie has passed away.

“He was a great servant to Scottish rugby, first and foremost as a terrific player and captain of the national side.

“He went on to have success as a coach and in 1995 we came very close to winning a Grand Slam and a few months later his Scotland team were only seconds away from topping their pool in the World Cup until France scored deep into injury time.

“Dougie was a hugely popular figure in his time as manager of the national team, someone who enjoyed having a laugh with the players, although he kept his natural competitive instinct whenever we took him on at pool or on the golf course. He has contributed a huge amount to Scottish rugby and he’ll be sorely missed.”