Rab Douglas, goal keeper

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Robert James Douglas, known as Rab, (born 24 April 1972 in Lanark) is a Scottish footballer, who plays as a goalkeeper for Arbroath. He played for several clubs, including Livingston, Dundee, Celtic, Leicester City and Forfar Athletic. Douglas was part of the Celtic side that reached the 2003 UEFA Cup Final, under the management of Martin O'Neill. He also represented Scotland at international level, playing 19 times between 2002 and 2005. In 2017 Douglas was inducted into the Dundee FC Hall of Fame.

Douglas began his professional career in 1993 when he signed for Scottish Second Division side Meadowbank Thistle. In the summer of 1997, Scottish First Division side Dundee signed Douglas. He was an ever-present in the side as Dundee won the 1997–98 Scottish First Division and gained promotion to the Scottish Premier League.

In 2000, he joined Celtic from Dundee and became first-choice goalkeeper at the club, displacing Jonathan Gould. He won the Scottish Premier League (SPL) title and the Scottish Cup in his first season at the club, but was cup-tied for their victorious 2000–01 Scottish League Cup campaign. In November 2001, and won the SPL Player of the Month Award.

He was a member of the team that reached the 2003 UEFA Cup Final against F.C. Porto, playing well in the games leading up the final, but considered culpable by many fans for at least one of Porto's goals in Seville.

During the 2003–04 and 2004–05 seasons he faced stiff competition from Swedish international Magnus Hedman and youngster David Marshall. A high-profile blunder against Rangers in 2005 led to increased speculation about his future. At the end of the season, Douglas was told by manager Martin O'Neill that he would not be first choice for next season.
As a result, Douglas decided to join Leicester City on a free transfer. But on 7 June 2007, Douglas was placed on the transfer list. On 14 September 2007, Douglas joined Millwall on an emergency four-week loan, making his debut in a 2–1 defeat to Walsall on 15 September. On 23 October, he joined Wycombe Wanderers on a three-month loan deal, making three appearances. Douglas loan spell ended on 12 December 2007.

On 14 March 2008, Douglas joined Plymouth Argyle on a week's emergency loan as cover for the suspended Luke McCormick, making his only appearance in a 2–1 away win over Bristol City. On 15 May, he was released by Leicester as his contract was close to expiring and later joined former club Dundee on a free transfer.

For the second time of his career, Douglas was playing for Dundee. He played against his former club, Celtic, in the fourth round of the 2008–09 Scottish Cup. The club would win the final of the Scottish Challenge Cup against Inverness Caledonian Thistle, with Douglas in goal.

On 8 May 2013, with the club now relegated to the First Division, it was announced that Douglas would not be offered a new contract. On 13 May 2013, at half-time in a match between Dundee and Kilmarnock, Douglas was given standing ovation from the fans during an emotional lap of honour and, at the end of the season, Douglas was awarded SunSport's Dundee Player of the Year award.

On 25 July 2013, Douglas joined Scottish League One side Forfar Athletic on a one-year deal. On 8 September 2013, Douglas returned for Celtic to play one match as keeper in Celtic's charity match in honour of Stiliyan Petrov. Douglas played a crucial role in Forfar's promotion challenge in the 14/15 season. In December 2015, Douglas quit the Station Park side.

After almost a year without a club, Douglas signed for Scottish League Two side Arbroath, but at the end of his short-term contract, Douglas left the club on 20 January 2017. Douglas subsequently re-signed for Arbroath at the end of March 2017 and then rejoined the Lichties, making his return to football in a victory against Queen's Park in November 2017.

Douglas was a regular for Scotland during the UEFA Euro 2004 qualification campaign. After a 6–0 loss to the Netherlands in Amsterdam in the qualifying playoff, Douglas lost his position as first team goalkeeper. It was a night from which his Scotland career never really recovered and he played just once more under Berti Vogts, against Wales, in a 4–0 defeat.

Douglas was recalled to the Scotland squad in 2005 by Walter Smith for a 2006 FIFA World Cup qualifier against Italy, but he had to be substituted in the 38th minute due to injury. His last appearance for Scotland was a friendly match in August 2005, where he came on as a second-half substitute in a 2–2 draw against Austria. In all he played 19 times for Scotland.

Douglas was declared bankrupt in January 2017.



Sources for this article include:

•  Barry Hugman's Footballers
•  The Dundee Courier, various editions

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Last modified: Monday, 25 March 2024