Aberdeen great Neale Cooper passes away, aged 54

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The European Cup Winners' Cup winner under Sir Alex Ferguson was found injured in the early hours of Sunday morning

Aberdeen legend Neale Cooper died suddenly on Monday aged 54, it has been confirmed.

Cooper was a mainstay of Sir Alex Ferguson’s Dons side which was a driving force in Scottish football during the 1980s, and in 1983 claimed European Cup Winners’ Cup success followed by the European Super Cup.

After seven years at Pittodrie, during which he won two Premier Division titles, four Scottish Cups and the League Cup, he went on to have a playing career that encompassed spells at Aston Villa, Rangers, Reading, Dunfermline and Ross County.

At County, he moved into management, initially on a player-manager basis, with two spells at Hartlepool, a brief stint at Gillingham and another at Peterhead following.

It is, however, his success on the field that he will be defined by.

Aberdeen Football Club tweeted: “The club is deeply shocked and saddened to hear that our legendary midfielder and Gothenburg Great, Neale Cooper has tragically passed away.”

Cooper was found in a stairwell in the early hours of Sunday morning but lost his fight for life on Monday at Aberdeen Royal Infirmary. 

Police have begun an inquiry into the incident but detective inspector David Howieson said: “There are no apparent suspicious circumstances. However, inquiries are continuing to establish how the man came to be injured.”