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Jim McLean and Tommy Docherty were real giants of the game, says Sir Kenny Dalglish

© Colorsport/ShutterstockSir Kenny with Tommy Docherty in 1986 at a game marking his 100 Scotland caps
Sir Kenny with Tommy Docherty in 1986 at a game marking his 100 Scotland caps

The year ended on a sad note for football with the news that both Jim McLean and Tommy Docherty had passed away.

Both were giants of the game.

Jim was a tactical genius and a Dundee United legend, and I got to know him best when he was Jock Stein’s assistant with Scotland.

The fact that Jock valued his opinion, and trusted him as a person, was good enough for me.

Every player in the national squad enjoyed Jim’s input on the training pitch, and he was there with us at the 1982 World Cup Finals in Spain.

But it was at club level he really made his name, and he put Dundee United on the European map. They were a real force to be reckoned with.

To win the Premier League title, reach a UEFA Cup Final and the 1984 European Cup semi-final was quite breathtaking.

Had circumstances been different, United may well have faced Liverpool in the Final.

But they lost 3-2 on aggregate to Roma, and it was later revealed the referee had been “got at” by the Italians.

That would have been hard for Jim – but we’d have beaten them in the Final anyway!

As for The Doc, he had a big influence on my career. He gave me my Scotland debut in November, 1971, and he held a special place in my heart for that.

I was just 20, and was so fortunate to have Tommy as my national team boss, and Jock Stein at Celtic.

That education was second to none.

I was a little bit nervous being with the main squad, but Tommy made me feel relaxed, and I wanted to be part of the national team more and more because of Tommy’s presence.

He knew the game. But, his man-management skills were great. Like Big Jock, he had a powerful presence and you wanted to do well for him.

He had a lovely balance of getting the work done, and then being able to “put the ball away” to relax the squad.

He was a very funny man and a brilliant storyteller.

I was disappointed when he left to take over at Manchester United. He had raised the bar, and put down the foundations that led to us qualifying for the 1974 World Cup Finals.

Both Tommy and Jim will be missed, and the thoughts of the Dalglish household are with the Docherty and McLean families at this very difficult time.