Hall of Fame - Cowie
Dundee’s post war manager George Anderson brought great success to the club. He was determined in his philosophy on how football should be played and the players who could provide it.
Those players were sought after by the top clubs of the time but thanks to his persuasive charm he signed most of those he wanted. One of those signings was Doug Cowie.
The apprentice rivetter was working in Aberdeen at the John Lewis shipyard in1945 aware that in a few hours he was to meet Dons manager Dave Halliday to confirm the contract offer made the previous evening after an impressive match at Gayfield. Doug had waited for approval from his junior club Aberdeen St. Clements prior to agreeing to formalise matters with Aberdeen but that gave George Anderson time to make his move. The bowler-hatted boss was well prepared to get his man and after a quick discussion with Doug’s father, who was working across the road, the young centre-half was signing for Dundee Football Club.
Doug played 446 competitive games for the club in a 16-year spell, a club record, but it could have been so much more. At the age of 19 he made his competitive debut on 23rd February 1946 in Dundee’s first ever League Cup fixture, a 2-0 defeat at Stirling Albion and despite playing in the close season European tour he only made a further three appearances in 1946/47.
The highlight of his career came when Dundee won the League Cup in successive seasons, against Rangers (1951) and Kilmarnock in 1952 but missed out on a treble losing out to Motherwell in the Scottish Cup final in 1952. The winner’s medals were most welcome after Dundee and Doug lost the League title on the last day of the 1948/49 season.
Playing at either wing-half or centre-half made no difference to Doug, his skill and elegance on the ball was always on show. Whilst there may have been more internationally famous players in the 40’s and 50’s many of the Dundee players of that time recall the Aberdonian as the best player they played alongside. Even the bullish Billy Steel admitted that his half back could “play a wee bit”.
In 1953 Doug made his international debut alongside Billy as Scotland drew 2-2 against England at Wembley. It was the first of 20 full caps for the national side and all gained whilst playing for Dundee. He is the only Dundee player to represent his country in two World Cup Finals. In 1954 he played two games in the Swiss Finals and four years later in Sweden he played his final two games for Scotland culminating in the 3-2 defeat by Paraguay.
At Dens he played under three managers, George Anderson, Willie Thornton and Bob Shankly , all of whom made him captain of their team at one time. The great regret is that in Bob Shankly’s successful quest to win the League title Doug was freed by the club twelve months before that memorable day in Perth.
Doug is often recalled as the player with the most appearances in a dark blue jersey but those who saw the elegance of the player know that it was never quantity but quality of those performances that make him a Dundee Legend