Former Dundee United player considers McLean at the same level as Jock Stein.
’s great accomplishments withCeltic
in the sixties is the reason many consider him as the godfather of Scottish football management. Celtic was able to win the European Cup in 1967 and Stein became the first English manager to have won this trophy. However, formerDundee United
’s achievements at Tannadice Park are every bit as impressive. Malpas believes that McLean should be remembered as a great coach at the same level as his friend Jock Sein.
“Jock Stein in my eyes was ‘the’ manager and when Jock Stein became manager of Scotland, who did he turn to become his assistant? Wee Jim.
“That speaks volumes for him as a football person and his standing in the game.
“What he achieved will never be done again. He took a bang-average team at the bottom of the league, flirting with relegation, and took them to a league title and then to the semi-final of the European Cup and the final of the UEFA Cup. That’s phenomenal.
“What he did in Europe was scary. No provincial club will ever repeat that again..
“The reputation we built, how we played against some of the continent’s best sides…no one will ever get near that again.
“Jock Stein won the European Cup with Celtic but for wee Jim to take Dundee United – who he referred to as a corner shop – to the semi-final I think puts him up there in the same bracket.
“He should be remembered as one of the greatest managers Scotland has ever produced.”
“He was never one to shout from the rooftops,”
“But actually, he was miles ahead of his time. In the mid-80s, we had sports scientists, we had dietitians. We were ridiculed because we had sports psychologists – but those kind of things are bog-standard now.
“That was down to wee Jim and his desire to get every ounce from us. He really was a forward-thinker.
“He was the first person I knew to have a satellite dish. It was the size of his back garden but it allowed him to watch games from South America. He really was a football freak in that sense.
“His man management was the thing that everybody criticised him for but that’s how he was.
“He could spot a player, he got a bunch of them together and by hook or by crook he kept them together.
“We had a team that stayed together for a right good few years. He was even different class with the wives. If they were having a night out, wee Jim would always seem to find out where they were going and make sure the bill was paid. His thinking was that if the wives were happy, the boys would be happy.
“He might not have been a couthy shoulder-smacker but (he) had more ways of getting the best out of you than some would realise.
“It was his demands that drove us a team.”
In 1994 Mclean’s decision to replace his team’s captain Malpas with Ivan Golac made the player angry but asked about the fall-out 25 years later, Malpas denies any hurt feelings.
“You knew where you stood with Jim. If you did something wrong, you got told. It was simple as that. There weren’t any airs and graces to it.
“If you did something right, people will say he didn’t praise you enough but that’s just how he was.
“Obviously today’s news is sad. Everybody knows he spent the last few years in a home and was having a difficult time but it’s sad, sad news to learn of his passing today.
“He played a big, big part in my career. I played all my days at Dundee United because I enjoyed it there, I enjoyed the style of football, how we played, how we trained.
“I’ve got a lot to thank Jim for.”