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mark mcghee

Not many players score on their first and last international appearance but Aberdeen manager Mark McGhee signed off from his time at Aberdeen by scoring for Scotland against England at Hampden in May 1984 in what was his last appearance for his country. McGhee only played four times for Scotland as he was overlooked on many occasions during his Pittodrie career where he enjoyed his most productive period.

Born in Glasgow in 1957, McGhee was tempted south as a youngster at Bristol City but returned to Scotland and signed for Morton in 1975. It was during his time at Cappielow that McGhee was soon establishing himself as a forward of great promise; his positive and often unorthodox approach making his style quite unique. Newcastle Utd won the race to take McGhee south again in December 1977 and despite an encouraging start to his career on Tyneside, a couple of managerial changes saw McGhee fall down the pecking order. That was when new Aberdeen manager Alex Ferguson made McGhee his first major signing at Pittodrie in March 1979. Ferguson only paid less than half of what Newcastle had paid to take the striker back north of the border.

Mark made his debut for the Dons against his former club Morton in Greenock on 1st April 1979. That period at the end of season 1978.79 allowed McGhee a time to settle into his new surroundings. In his first full season in 1979.80 success came by way of a stunning Premier League success. Making 21 appearances that season the Dons striker helped his new club to a league win that was first outside of the Old Firm for 15 years. That period heralded a new era in Scottish football as Aberdeen went on to dominate the game in Scotland and McGhee was a crucial part of that great Aberdeen side. It is fair to suggest that Aberdeen got the best out of McGhee; his cross from the left set up John Hewitt to score the goal that won the ECWC against Real Madrid in Sweden in 1983.

Several months later McGhee was on target against Hamburg in the final of the Super Cup as Aberdeen were crowned Kings of Europe. That was not the first time McGhee scored against the Germans as his goal in the Volkspark Stadion in a 1981 UEFA Cup tie first alerted the Germans to his ability. Before Hamburg were to prise the Dons forward away in 1984, McGhee was the Dons top scorer in 1982 and again a year later. His final appearance for Aberdeen was in the 1984 Scottish Cup Final against Celtic. Aberdeen completed an incredible three Scottish cup wins in a row and McGhee signed off in style by scoring the winner in extra time. Hampden was again centre stage for McGhee seven days later as he scored Scotland's goal against England in the 1-1 draw in the Home Championships.

After returning to Scotland after 18 months in the Bundesliga, McGhee was a winner again with Celtic in their Centenary year. Mark completed his career in Sweden before being appointed as manager at Reading. He took the Royals to the Second Division title in 1994, before being appointed as manager at Leicester City. His spell at the Midlands club ended in acrimony as after a year in charge he was enticed to take over an ailing Wolverhampton Wanderers as he claimed Leicester did not share his ambition. Despite leading Wolves to the play-offs in 1997, he eventually moved on in November 1998. It was with Millwall that he again found success in 2001 as he led them to the Second Division title. In 2003 he made way for Dennis Wise at the New Den and McGhee again found success with his next club Brighton as they were promoted in 2005. McGhee parted company with Brighton early into the 2006.07 season before taking over as manager at Motherwell.

Right from the off in his time as Dons boss, things did not go well for McGhee, with early season European disaster against Sigma Olomouc, including the Club's heaviest ever home defeat in European competition. The League campaign started off with mixed fortunes but settled into a long series of draws and defeats suggesting that all was not right in the home camp. The League Cup saw the Dons fall at their first hurdle against Dundee and later in the season they lost out in the Scottish Cup to Raith Rovers after a replay at Pittodrie. Late in the season, the team scraped together enough points to finish ninth, but it was clear that supporters were far from happy.

Season 2010-11 opened on a more positive note. The signing of Paul Hartley was regarded as a key move and Hartley inspired the team to back to back victories as the League got under way. That optimistic spell did not last and the team again fell into a rut of defeats interspersed with the odd win, showing great defensive frailty. At the beginning of November the Dons suffered their heaviest defeat in decades, losing 9-0 at Celtic Park, and the manager's future was pretty well sealed. Mark continued in charge for a further four matches, all defeats, before being sacked along with his management team.

Just why a previously competent manager who had done well at several clubs, was unable to make headway at Aberdeen was the subject of much conjecture, but he had not gained the full backing of the public because of remarks he had made regarding his ambition to be in charge at another club. There were also questions about the management team that came in to support him and the response of the players during his tenure.




Glasgow 20th May 1957



Bristol City 1973; Morton 1975; Newcastle Utd; Dec 1977 (£150,000), Aberdeen March 1979 (£80,000), SV Hamburg May 1984 (£285,000), Celtic November 1985 (£200,000)



Scotland 4 caps (all with Aberdeen) v Canada (2) 1983, v England, N Ireland 1984, 2 goals scored

Scotland U-21 1 appearance

Aberdeen; ECWC , European Super Cup 1983, Premier League Winner; 1980, 1984. Scottish Cup Winner; 1982, 1983, 1984.

Celtic; Premier League Winner 1986, 1988, Scottish Cup Winner 1988, 1989


Coaching & Management

Reading 1991-1994, Leicester City 1994-1995, Wolverhampton 1995-1998, Millwall 2000-2003, Brighton 2003-2006, Motherwell 2007-2009.


Apps & Gls













SV Hamburg









IK Brage







Aberdeen v Morton LCSF 1979

Mark in action in 1980

1980 U21 Scotland v Denmark

Mark in action against Liverpool in the 1980 European Cup

1981 Pre season friendly against Southampton. Mark tackles Alan Ball

Mark in action v Hamburg 1981 UEFA Cup

Mark puts Aberdeen 2-1 up in the 1982 Scottish Cup Final against Rangers

Mark and his team mates after the 1982 Scottish Cup Final

Mark McGhee 1983

1983 Home International Championship v Northern Ireland. Mark came on as a sub to join 5 other Dons in the Scotland line up - and Willie Miller was injured which would have made it 7!

Mark in action of the semi final of the ECWC 1983 v Waterschei

Mark scores in the semi final of the ECWC 1983 v Waterschei

1983 Mark in action against Real Madrid

Mark with the European Cup Winners Cup

Mark and the fans

Aberdeen v Hibernian May 1983 - McGhee scores

Mark in action against Hibs May 1983

Mark with the 1983 Scottish Cup

1984 Super Cup McGhee scores against Hamburg

mark scores against Rangers at Pittodrie in the League 1983

Mark scores at Ibrox 1984

1984 ECWC Aberdeen v Porto

McGhee v Dundee Utd 1984 Scottish Cup

Mark during the 1984 Scottish Cup Final

Mark McGhee scores the winner in the 1984 Scottish Cup Final. Aberdeen beat Celtic 2-1 aet.

Mark McGhee 1984

Mark scores against England at Hampden 1984. The game finished 1-1

Mark with some of the Gothenburg Greats May 2009

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AFC Competitive Managerial Record

Competition Played Won Drawn Lost For Against GD
Europe 2 0 0 2 1 8 -7
League 53 13 12 28 51 83 -32
LeagueCup 4 3 0 1 10 6 4
ScotsCup 3 1 1 1 3 2 1
Total 62 17 13 32 65 99 -34

AFC Appearances

Season League League Cup Scottish Cup Europe Total Reserve Youth
  App Sub App Sub App Sub App Sub App Sub App Sub
1983-84 30 3 6 0 6 0 10 0 52 3 0 0 0 0
1982-83 31 1 7 0 5 0 11 0 54 1 0 0 0 0
1981-82 29 2 9 0 6 0 5 1 49 3 0 0 0 0
1980-81 36 0 5 0 2 0 4 0 47 0 0 0 0 0
1979-80 15 6 6 1 1 0 0 0 22 7 0 0 0 0
1978-79 11 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 11 0 0 0 0 0
Total 152 12 33 1 20 0 30 1 235 14 0 0 0 0


Season League League Cup Scottish Cup Europe Total Reserve Youth
1983-84 13 3 2 6 24 0 0
1982-83 16 4 1 6 27 0 0
1981-82 8 4 3 1 16 0 0
1980-81 13 3 0 1 17 0 0
1979-80 6 4 0 0 10 0 0
1978-79 4 0 0 0 4 0 0
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13 Jul 2024 / 17:15 / Palmerston Park, Dumfries