Scottish journalism has lost a legend with the passing of the hugely-respected and much-loved Ron Scott.
I was privileged to call Scotty a friend as well as fellow football writer. He was a pal in the pub as well as a trusted mentor, with a knowledge of the game as wide as the Tay.
As part of the DC Thomson group, when covering games for The Courier at Dens Park, Tannadice, Hampden and elsewhere, I sat right next to Ron for decades as he worked his magic for The Sunday Post.
The great thing about that is that you could sneak a look at his always comprehensive notes in case you missed something! You didn’t need to, of course, with Ron always happy to share his wisdom if you asked him. He took a keen interest in what his colleagues were doing, reminding me on more than one occasion about something I had written when I myself had forgotten.
He loved life and he especially loved having a laugh socially. A gathering with Ron present was much richer than one without him. In one sentence you would hear a tale about Jock Stein, in another a story about Jim Baxter and yet another a brilliant Jim McLean anecdote. Ron was there with these guys. He also had phone numbers the rest of us could only dream of. He knew the greats as well as any reporter working in Scottish football.
Indeed, I recall gathering for Ron’s retirement presentation in our company’s Kingsway building and waiting for what was trailed as a surprise contribution at the end.
Down went the lights and on the video screen appeared the smiling face of Sir Alex Ferguson to deliver a wonderful tribute to Scotty. Had fate not turned out as it did, he would have been one of the first in the queue wishing Fergie all the best in his current health battle.
Ron didn’t hide the fact that his first and lifelong love in football was Dundee FC. He was a true dark blue and endured the hard times and enjoyed the successes just like any other fan, while always wearing his professional’s hat. As we football writers like to stress, he didn’t let that affect his job. On the contrary, he was ferociously fair, absolutely accurate and as full of integrity as anyone in our profession to have picked up a pen or laptop.
Ron was a fiercely proud Dundonian, always happy to carry the good name of his home city around with him. He also led the Scottish Football Writers’ Association with distinction as president.
In the days and weeks to come, there will be several toasts made and tributes paid to Scotty. I will carry two pictures of him in my mind – the first sitting by my side in the Press box and the second clinking glasses with the lads in the boozer before reminiscing about the golden days. Goodbye Scotty and thanks for everything.