Continuing our sifting of the cuttings files, one stood out from November 3, 1977. It offered:
Aberdeen manager Billy McNeill last night described the signing of Gordon Strachan from Dundee as the “best bargain buy ever to come to Pittodrie”.
The two-day transfer talks ended at Dens Park yesterday when Strachan joined Aberdeen in exchange for Jim Shirra plus a £50,000 cash adjustment in Dundee’s favour.
Said a happy Billy McNeill: “Gordon might not be one of Aberdeen’s biggest signings in cash terms, but, in the long term, it is a tremendous bargain.
“He is still only 20, can give 10 years service at Pittodrie and, if he plays as well as he has done in half the games I have watched, he will be a great asset.”
Strachan, who had six years at Dundee, will make his debut for the Dons against Dundee United at Tannadice tomorrow.
He said last night: “It is a bit of a wrench to leave Dens after so long, but this is a big step-up for me.”
Dundee manager Tommy Gemmell has handed new boy Shirra the captaincy for tomorrow’s First Division promotion clash against Stirling Albion.
It wasn’t quite a decade at Pittodrie, but Edinburgh-born Strachan crammed much silverware into his seven years with the Dons before joining Manchester United.
He then went on to play just under 200 games for Leeds United, before finishing his playing career with Coventry in 1997.
Coventry were also the first club he managed, going on to be boss at Southampton, Celtic and Middlesbrough.
He was capped 50 times for Scotland, and his last appointment, of course, was as Scotland team boss, resigning late last year.
Strachan was later more revealing about that time at Dens in his book ‘My Life In Football’.
Among other things, he said . . .
There was nothing remotely glamorous about Dundee Football Club behind the scenes, especially when they ran into serious financial difficulties following relegation.
There were fears we would have to go part-time.
It was like the footballing equivalent of ‘I’m a Celebrity, Get Me Out of Here’.
The players’ training kit — including our pants — was only washed once a week on a Friday.
After we had trained in it on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, often in terrible weather conditions, you can imagine what kind of state it was in by the end of the week.
Tommy Gemmell took over as manager from Davie White, but, in November 1977, only a few months after he arrived, I was transferred to Aberdeen.
It was another legendary Celt who bought me, Billy McNeill, who was boss at Pittodrie at that time.
I was fortunate in the sense that Dundee, who had established themselves among the promotion contenders in the First Division, needed to let me go in order to keep themselves afloat financially.
It was his form in the near-200 games for Falkirk which prompted Aberdeen to sign Shirra.
After his time at Pittodrie, he played just over 100 games for Dundee in a four-year spell at Dens before spending a season in Australia with South Melbourne Hellas in 1981-82.
The Falkirk-born midfielder came back to Scotland to join Stirling Albion for a season in 1983.