Alex Stuart won a Scottish League Championship medal with Dundee at the tender age of twenty-one and had the honour of captaining Dundee in the 1967 League Cup Final. An accomplished defender, Stuart was famed for his powerful shooting and in his nine seasons in the first team, he scored a very credible thirty-one goals making him the highest scoring defender in the Club’s history to date.
Stuart joined Dundee from Aberdeen East End in 1958 and had to wait two years for his debut when he replaced the injured Bobby Cox in the staring line up in a derby against Dundee United at Tannadice on September 17th 1960.
The following season, Dundee reached their zenith when they won the Scottish League championship and Stuart played his part, coming in to cover for the injured Bobby Wishart and got revenge for the 3-1 derby defeat on his debut when his first match of the season was a glorious 4-1 win over United.
Winning the league flag meant European Cup football for Dundee and while Stuart was still very much a squad player, he still managed to make two of his eleven appearances of the season in both legs of the semi-final against A.C. Milan after Bobby Cox injured his cartilage at Fir Park, two days before the flight to Italy.
The following season saw Alex establish himself in the side and play fifty times as Dundee reached the Scottish Cup Final in April 1964. On route to the final, Stuart played in all six games and scored in the 6-3 win over Forres Mechanics in the Highlands in the first round. He took his place at Hampden in front of a crowd of 120, 982 but had to be content with a runners-up medal as Rangers ran out 3-1 winners.
That season saw Dundee score an incredible 156 goals, a club record and Alex chipped in with his first five goals for The Dee. His first strike came in a 6-1 rout of St. Johnstone in Perth in November while he scored a double against Partick Thistle in a 5-2 win at Dens the week before the Dark Blues’ date with destiny at the National Stadium.
By now a firm favourite with the fans, Stuart became famed for his thundering left-footed free kicks and long range strikes and added another five goals to his tally in season 1966/67. He also scored twice on Dundee’s eleven game summer tour of North America at the end of that campaign; the first in a 12-1 win over Buffalo in the opening game.
The tour had been a great success and included wins over English champions Manchester United and cup winners Chelsea and so Thee Dee went into the new season in high spirits with Stuart was appointed as captain. Dundee started the season well by winning their League Cup section and in the two legged quarter-final against East Fife, Stuart scored Dundee’s fourth in the second leg at home to round off a 5-0 aggregate win.
A 3-1 semi-final victory over Tayside neighbours St. Johnstone at Tannadice meant Alex had the honour of leading Dundee out in a major cup final at Hampden but he was denied the chance to lift the League Cup when defending champions Celtic retained the trophy by defeating The Dee 5-3 in an enthralling match.
By then Dundee were already in the second round of the Inter-Cities Fairs Cup - the forerunner to the U.E.F.A. Cup - after beating D.W.S. Amsterdam 4-2 on aggregate in the first round and just four days after the Cup Final defeat they now met Royal Leige at Dens for the first leg of round two. After the shock loss of an early goal, the Dark Blues were able to recover and two Alex Stuart ‘specials’ and a header by Sammy Wilson, gave Dundee a deserved 3-1 win.
A third round bye put Dundee into the quarter-finals and two 1-0 wins over F.C. Zurich sent Dundee into their second European semi-final in five years. Stuart however missed the tie against the Swiss side after having a cartilage operation in February and he failed to recover in time for the semi-final against Leeds United to deny him the chance to play in his second European semi.
It was the beginning of the end for Stuart’s Dundee career as he made only nine starts the following year despite scoring in the first two games of the season. He failed to fully recover from the cartilage operation and in April, he was released aged just twenty-eight, alongside championship skipper Bobby Cox, making his last appearance for Dundee on January 4th 1969 against St. Johnstone at Muirton Park.
Stuart moved to city rivals Dundee United but left within the year to become player/manager at Montrose and spent six years Links Park. He then moved to Premier Division Ayr United in 1975 and kept the part-time side in the top flight for two season before having a final managerial spell with St. Johnstone at the end of the seventies.
Alex Stuart enjoyed a memorable eleven years at Dens Park when Dundee were at the height of their glory and was the only member of the league winning squad to play in both the Scottish and League Cup Finals. He was the last of the Championship side to leave Dens Park and his departure marked the end of a golden age for Dundee F.C.
Honours at Dundee:
European Cup semi-final: 1962/63
Scottish Cup runner-up: 1964
Scottish League Cup runner-up: 1967/68
Scottish Cup: 13, 3 goals
League Cup: 36, 4 goals
Europe: 8, 2 goals
Other: 12, 1 goal