DUNDEE, Scotland (AP) — Jim McLean, the Scottish soccer manager who led Dundee United to its only domestic league title in 1983 and the European Cup semifinals the following year, has died. He was 83.
McLean’s death was announced by the club on Saturday. The cause was not disclosed.
Together with Alex Ferguson’s Aberdeen, McLean’s Dundee United helped to shake up the Scottish game in the 1980s as the so-called “New Firm” challenged the hegemony of Celtic and Rangers — the Glasgow giants long referred to as the “Old Firm.”
McLean spent 22 years as United’s manager from 1971, leading the team to Scottish League Cup trophies in 1980 and ’81 as well as two more finals. The team was runner-up in the Scottish Cup six times under his charge.
United entered the European Cup after winning the Scottish league and reached the last four before losing to Roma 3-2 on aggregate, having won the first leg 2-0 at home. In 1987, United beat Barcelona home and away en route to reaching the UEFA Cup final, where it lost over two legs to IFK Gothenburg.
“An integral part of our history and rise to the forefront of European football, Jim was simply a titan of Dundee United folklore, cherished by the United family the world over,” the club said in a statement.
“He will be sorely missed by us all.”
The club said the flags at its Tannadice stadium were being flown at half-mast.
McLean played for Hamilton, Clyde, Dundee and Kilmarnock before becoming the manager and later chairman of Dundee United. He was also assistant manager to Jock Stein with Scotland’s national team for four years, including at the 1982 World Cup.
“His remarkable six-decade career made him a true legend not only at Dundee United, but across the world of football,” McLean’s family said in a statement, describing him as a “much-loved husband, father, brother, uncle and father-in-law.”
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