“Some fans are on the pitch, they think it’s all over. It is now.”

Kenneth Wolstenholme’s iconic commentary sent millions of England fans leaping from their chairs to celebrate.

In Scotland, we slumped in ours, head in hands. The Auld Enemy had won the World Cup and we’d never hear the end of it for the next 100 years. At least.

But there was one Scot, a former Rangers star, who allowed himself a smile of quiet satisfaction as the cameras zoomed in on manager Alf Ramsey savouring the 1966 triumph. He’d taken the England boss under his wing at Ipswich Town for three years to teach him the managerial ropes. By any measure, he’d succeeded. Even if Scotland fans wished he hadn’t.

However, there would be no boasting about his achievement. That wasn’t his style. He could have been at Wembley as Ramsey’s guest to congratulate his protege in person. Instead, a whisky with wife Mary in their Helensburgh home and a feeling of pride at a job well done would suffice.

After a lifetime in football as a player and manager at the highest level, he was virtually unknown in his homeland. More than four decades after his death, he still is.

Yet this unsung hero’s career is astonishing. He played for Rangers for six years, won the Championship and FA Cup with Newcastle, and went into management with, among others, Manchester United for five years and Ipswich Town for 18 years.

At one point he was the highest paid figure in British football. When he retired, the FA gave him a medal to honour his ‘long, distinguished service’ to the game.

His name is Scott Duncan. He was born in Dumbarton in 1888, one of seven siblings, who lived above his father’s butcher shop. He played for his school team Dumbarton Academy then worked as a law clerk in the town’s sheriff office.

His promising legal career was short-lived as Dumbarton offered him professional terms when he turned 18. The skilful right-winger shone and two years later English champions Newcastle United, who dominated the game in that era, signed him. He scored 12 times in 81 league games for the Magpies and won the First Division title in 1909 and the Charity Shield with the Geordie giants. Next season an FA Cup win earned him another medal. In 1913, he got his dream move to boyhood heroes Rangers in a £750 transfer. He stayed at Ibrox during World War I, also serving as a signalling instructor in the Royal Field Artillery. While this was his peak years as a player, the war curtailed his chance of being capped for Scotland as all international games were suspended.

Football, rightly, took second place to the war effort and this caused problems for clubs. On November 20, 1915, the Gers could field only nine players for a league visit to Falkirk and had to play inside forward Alex Bennet in goal. To make matters worse, Duncan picked up an injury and missed the second half, leaving the Ibrox men with just eight players. Falkirk, to no one’s surprise, won 2-0.

Midweek football was also banned to discourage absenteeism from essential services. This caused fixture congestion and, in 1917, clubs agreed to play two games on one day. Rangers lined up at Douglas Park, Hamilton, on the Saturday afternoon of April 21 for a 3.30pm kick-off and lost 3-1. That night, Queens Park - who had won 2-0 at Firhill earlier - lost 1-0 at Ibrox. Seven Rangers players, including Duncan, turned out in both matches.

War-time regulations led to another extraordinary episode for the star. There was a rule that allowed soldier players to turn out with one other side for two league games only in a season. In January, 1919, Duncan did just that - crossing the great divide to help Old Firm rivals Celtic. Imagine the uproar that would have caused today. In both matches the pacey winger played well and the Hoops won – against Third Lanark and Clydebank. After each game, the Parkhead fans applauded him off the pitch. This prompted a pundit to gloat cheekily in the Glasgow Observer: “It was Scott’s wish to be inside a green and white jersey at least once or twice in a lifetime.” As fate would have it, Celtic went on to win the league that season in the tightest of races by just one point - from Rangers.

Despite the hardship of the times, Duncan played 101 games for the Teddies, winning two titles in 1913 and 1918 and bagging 26 goals. It was the happiest period of his playing career. His last game for Rangers was a 3-0 win against Clydebank on February 22, 1919. He moved to Partick Thistle for a loan spell before signing a permanent deal with Dumbarton. In the 1920 close season, he joined Cowdenbeath and in 1922 he returned to Dumbarton for a third time before hanging up his boots the following year at 35 to become manager of Hamilton.

He left the Accies after two seasons to boss Cowdenbeath and had seven excellent years at the club, performing near miracles to keep them in the Scottish top flight throughout. He also presided over the club’s record win which stands to this day – a 12-0 demolition of St Johnstone in the Scottish Cup in 1928. His success attracted big guns from over the border and in 1932 Manchester United took this shrewd, intelligent operator to Old Trafford. Despite spending a lot of money on players, the Red Devils were almost relegated to the third tier in 1934. Duncan turned things around and United won the second division championship in 1936.

To strengthen his side for the top flight, he tried to buy a gifted young Scot from rivals Manchester City – his offer of £250 for the services of Matt Busby was turned down. Busby, of course, went on to achieve legendary status in the same managerial chair as the man who tried to buy him. The clever Scot by now had a reputation for being a wily tactician and he was also a fine administrator with an eye for detail. In November, 1937, he was lured away from Old Trafford after Ipswich Town offered him a massive salary to take over at Portman Road. Ivan Cobbold was ambitious for the non-league club and the wealthy aristocrat made his new manager the highest-paid figure in British football.

Crucially, Duncan by now had many contacts throughout the game. This was important because the club wanted entry to the professional ranks and needed him to command the votes when it came to a final decision about whether they should replace Gillingham in the Football League.

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A case of the finest port was sent to his house to tempt him from Old Trafford. He was also offered a huge salary for the time of £2000 per annum, with a bonus of £1000 if the club’s bid was successful - and promises of further similar sums if he could take Ipswich to the top. To put his income in context, in those days his wage was ten times more than star players got and it made him football’s top earner.

His guile and political skills succeeded in getting the team into the league in 1938. The defeat of Gillingham caused a sensation as, just a few weeks before, the Southern clubs had recommended Gillingham for re-election and Town had come a poor third behind Walsall in the vote. Under Duncan’s leadership, Ipswich campaigned hard, spending big on lobbying officials and producing an expensive glossy brochure about the club and town. He’d more than earned his bonus and he kept the team in the professional leagues for 18 seasons before handing over the reins in 1955 to a new rookie manager.

The club asked him to remain as secretary for another three years to ensure everything ran smoothly off the park and to mentor his successor - Alf Ramsey.

Duncan, now 70, was honoured with a testimonial match at the end of the 1958 season against Norwich City which Ipswich won 3-1. He is fondly remembered as one of the most important figures in the club’s history. And he was given a medal by the FA in honour of his ‘long, distinguished services’ to the beautiful game.

Always immaculately dressed, Duncan wasn’t a track-suit manager but in those days that wasn’t unusual. The England footballing genius Stanley Matthews said of him: “He almost always wore a smart suit and a homburg hat. He could easily have been a bank manager.”

He was superstitious and an extremely rare seven-leaf clover was mounted on the wall of his office at Portman Road. It was given to him by an American serviceman. Interestingly, as a reciprocal gesture, his wife Mary gave American golfer Sam Snead a four-leaf clover just before he played the Open at St Andrews in 1946 - which he went on to win. The Ipswich boss also had a reputation for being canny with money and was reluctant to involve the club in the growing fashion of spending big in the transfer market. He said: “In these days of fantastic transfer fees, fancy figures are not necessarily the hallmark of a good player.”

The sums he was talking about seem low in these days of multi-million-pound players but he was wise in pointing out the rapid rise in the level of transfer fees at that time.

He would study every claim for expenses in-depth and treated Town money as though it were his own. There is a story that shows how frugal he was. The Ipswich squad were having breakfast in the Great Eastern Hotel at Liverpool Street Station and he dropped some loose change under the table. He was seen on his hands and knees, anxious to account for every penny.

Despite his conservative appearance and manner, Duncan was quite a character. Town director John Cobbold caught him watering down whisky in the referee’s room. Match officials weren’t paid at that time, they just received expenses and a few drinks. When Cobbold protested at the sacrilegious act being committed, Duncan said: “Don’t worry about it. It’s only for the bloody ref.”

After retiring, he returned to live in Scotland with Mary at Loch Drive, Helensburgh, in a detached house looking onto the Firth of Clyde. He was a member of the local Rotary Club but generally kept himself to himself and not many people in the seaside town would have known the star they had in their midst.

He stayed away from football in his retirement years. With his vast experience, he could have sat on the board of any Scottish club or the SFA and offered much as an adviser. But there is no record of his having any involvement in the game during these years, even as a spectator. Perhaps, after a lifetime in professional football, he’d had enough.

He had no children but he has a great, great nephew who was called after him. Scott Duncan, from Cardross, said: “Although we didn't know much about him, my dad told me he’d been a top footballer and manager and that's who I was named after. He spent most of his career down south so would have lost contact with most of the family. However, his name will live on as I have also named my son after him.

“He appears to have been a really bright guy as his career was so successful and we’re all proud to have had such a star in the family. It's sad that not many people know about his career but he wasn’t the type to boast about his achievements.”

Dumbarton barber John McCann cut Duncan’s hair in the Vale of Leven Hospital, Alexandria. Sadly, the 87-year-old was gravely ill and passed away a few months later.

Even in the poorest of health, he still made an impression. John said: “There was an Old Firm game looming and patients were chatting about it. As he shuffled over for his haircut you could see he was ill. Very much an old-school gentleman, he was well-spoken, and I assumed he wasn’t interested in the game.

“When I later found out about his football career, I couldn’t believe it as there was no mention of it when we talked about the upcoming match. He must have been a formidable figure - there was an air of authority about him even though he was extremely ill. But he was also polite and friendly. A lovely man.”

Adam Scott Mathieson Duncan’s funeral service at Cardross on October 5, 1976, with wife Mary being his only family survivor, was a modest affair as few people knew about his incredible career.

There is nothing in the cemetery to record his death other than a line in a dusty old ledger that notes his ashes were scattered in the Garden of Remembrance.

The passing of this unassuming man who had spent more than 50 years in the sport at such a high level merited only two short sentences in Glasgow’s Evening Times.

Scottish football had lost one of its great figures. It just didn’t know it.