Aberdeen celebrates this Thursday the 40th anniversary of their victory in the European Cup Winners’ Cup over Real Madrid.
The club and council are honoring the players, who will be awarded the Freedom of the City of Aberdeen at a ceremony on Friday.
Here, the PA news agency remembers the ‘Gothenburg Greats’: the 12 players who took to the pitch under Sir Alex Ferguson at the Ullevi Stadium to beat Madrid 2-1 after extra time in 1983.
jim leighton – Followed Ferguson to Old Trafford in 1988 before ending his Pittodrie career in 2000 after spells at Dundee and Hibernian. Scotland’s most capped goalkeeper with 91 caps, he had two spells as Aberdeen’s goalkeeping coach before leaving football in 2015 to work in the oil and gas sector.
Doug Rougvie – The imposing full-back moved to Chelsea in 1984 and spent three years at Stamford Bridge. Rougvie, who won his only cap for Scotland against Northern Ireland in 1983, went on to play for Brighton, Fulham, Shrewsbury, Dunfermline and Montrose and managed the latter as well as Huntly and Cove Rangers. Rougvie’s departure from Cove in 1998 spelled the end of his football career and he became an engineer. Now retired, he divides his time between Scotland and Spain.
Alex MacLeish – The centre-back spent almost every game of his playing career with Aberdeen, with whom he won 12 major trophies. He joined Motherwell in 1994 as player-manager and went on to take charge of Hibernian, Rangers, Scotland twice, Birmingham, Aston Villa, Nottingham Forest, Genk and Egyptian team Zamalek. His last managerial role ended with Scotland in 2019. He won eight major trophies, including the League Cup with Birmingham and two promotions as manager. The 64-year-old appears as a television pundit.
willie miller – The employer had a long association with Aberdeen, managing them from 1992-95. Miller then joined Pittodrie’s board and had a spell as director of football and has been a pundit on BBC Radio Scotland for a number of years.
John McMaster – The midfielder, who played left-back for Gothenburg, spent 15 years at Pittodrie before leaving in 1987 to play for hometown club Morton in the final year of his career. McMaster became assistant manager at the Greenock club and then scouted the likes of Middlesbrough and Swansea. He worked in market research and now gives corporate leadership talks.
gordon strachan – He went to Manchester United in 1984 where he would later meet Ferguson again. He was the football writers’ player of the year in both Scotland and England and won the league with Leeds before ending his playing days and beginning his managerial career at Coventry. He led Southampton to the FA Cup final before a successful spell with Celtic and then managed Middlesbrough and Scotland. He now technical director at Dundee.
Neale Cooper – The only one from the team not yet here for the 40th anniversary celebrations, Cooper died aged 54 in 2018 after a fall in a tower block in Aberdeen. Just 19 when he won the European trophy, Cooper made his debut in 1979 and went on to play for the likes of Aston Villa and Rangers before a second spell at Pittodrie. He was a popular manager in Ross County and Hartlepool. He later took up a corporate position with Aberdeen club sponsors, Saltire Energy.
neil simpson – A key player for the Dons until a series of injuries hampered his progress. He left the Dons in 1990 and had spells at Newcastle and Motherwell but couldn’t get his form back. The midfielder took over as manager after retirement, returning to Aberdeen with the youth team in 2001, where he remains to this day as rail coach.
peter landfill – Ferguson returned to former club St Mirren to sign the talented winger, who later played for Leicester and then club Paisley before ending his career at Ayr. Weir became a coach, spending 10 years in charge of Aberdeen’s youth academy center in Glasgow.
mcgee brand – Another one who returned to Pittodrie, as a coach in 2009, but the stage was not among his happiest moments in management. McGhee left the Dons for Hamburg in 1984 and also played for Newcastle, Celtic and Reading, where he got off to a great start to his coaching career. He’s also taken charge of teams including Wolves, Leicester, Brighton and Motherwell, and was Strachan’s assistant with Scotland, before ending his career with Dundee last year.
Eric Black – The striker opened the scoring in the final and played for Metz in France before a back injury forced him to retire at the age of 27. He was assistant manager to John Barnes at Celtic and was in charge of Coventry. and Motherwell, the latter ending when the club went into administration. He returned to coaching under Steve Bruce with his clubs including Birmingham, Sunderland, Rotherham and Aston Villa. Black turned his back on football after leaving Southampton in 2017 and now, 59, sells furniture with his son in Leamington Spa.
John Hewitt – The attacker had already been dubbed a ‘super substitute’ for his goals off the bench during Aberdeen’s run to Gothenburg and lived up to his nickname by heading in an extra-time winner after coming on for Black. Hewitt left for Celtic in 1989 and spent several years with St Mirren before a brief managerial spell as Dundalk’s player/manager and Rougvie’s assistant at Cove. The 60-year-old now works in the oil and gas sector in Aberdeen and recovered from a heart attack earlier this year.
Unused substitutes included goalkeeper Bryan Gunn, injured full-back Stuart Kennedy, and midfielders Andy Watson and Ian Angus.