A rugged, hard-as-nails defender, Doug Rougvie won great popularity wherever he played for his uncompromising approach to the game, a style of play which earned him the nickname ‘Doug the Thug’; yet he was a competent enough performer to play for Scotland and won a host of honours in his homeland. He could also be an inspirational leader, as he proved at the Goldstone Ground.
On Dunfermline Athletic’s books as a schoolboy, Doug was playing for junior side Dunfermline United when he joined Aberdeen in 1972 at the age of sixteen. Farmed out to Rosemount, an Aberdeen junior club, for experience, he also completed his education in mechanical engineering before going on to appear in 308 League and Cup games for the ‘Dons’. A great favourite at Pittodrie, he gained two Scottish League championship medals; three Scottish Cup winner’s medals; a European Cup-Winners’ Cup medal against Real Madrid in 1983; and made one appearance in a Scottish jersey, in a 2-0 defeat by Northern Ireland in 1983.
Transferred unexpectedly to Chelsea in August 1984, Doug spent three seasons at Stamford Bridge and played in 90 League and Cup games, mainly at left-back (in competition with his future Albion colleague Keith Dublin). In 1986 he added a Full Members Cup medal to his collection.
With the departure of Eric Young to Wimbledon imminent, Albion manager Barry Lloyd spent £50,000 in June 1987 to bring the hugely experienced 31-year-old to the Goldstone, and installed him as skipper following the departure of Danny Wilson. Although looking a little crude at times, Doug was a colossus at the heart of the defence as Albion gained immediate promotion back to the Second Division in 1987-88, but the season ended on a sour note when, after recovering from a bout of flu, he was replaced by Bob Isaac for the last few matches and requested a transfer.
In September 1988 he moved on to Shrewsbury Town for £50,000, and joined Fulham five months later, but the following August he returned to Scotland with the club he had started out with as a lad, Dunfermline Athletic. After 28 Premier Division outings for the ‘Pars’, Doug left for Montrose during the close season of 1990 and starred in the team which took the runner’s-up spot in Division Two in his first season at Links Park. In December 1991 the 35-year-old defender was appointed manager, but left Montrose the following May and resumed as a player with Huntly in the Highland League, later to become manager.
In 1993-94 he helped the Aberdeenshire club win the League and League Cup, and won a second championship the following season. In April 1995, Doug played for the Highland League XI which defeated an FA. XI – effectively the England semi-pro side – 4-3 at St Albans.