Scottish International Rugby Referee 1961-1969



Douglas McMahon was a Scottish international referee 1961-69. He took charge of 6 international matches;







Following on from this career he acted as a referee's assessor for the Scottish Rugby Union. 

(Pictured left and below with the Welsh team prior to the famous Wales v England 1967 'Keith Jarrett' match 

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'The Scotsman' newspaper said of Dougie McMahon following his passing in 2004:


Born: 31 May, 1926, in Edinburgh. Died: 8 December, 2004, in Coupar, aged 78. 

DOUGLAS McMahon was born in 1926, the elder son of William and Grace McMahon, and was brought up with his brother, Billy, in Comely Bank, Edinburgh. In 1950 he married Anne Notman, with whom he had two children, Hazel and Alan. Dougie had a distinguished school and university career, becoming vice-captain of George Heriotís School and taking a BSc in physics at Edinburgh University. Upon graduation he was invited, as his national service, to undertake research at the National Physical Laboratory in Hounslow, after which he trained as a physics teacher. 

Dougie was a born teacher, whose contribution in the educational field was immense. He began his career at the Royal High School, became principal teacher at the Ross High, and at Daniel Stewartís College, where he and Anne ran the school boarding house, and finally was rector of Buckhaven High School until his retirement in 1983. He led the school during the transition from selective to comprehensive education, leading with assurance, vigour and compassion, which reverberated through the staff and made Buckhaven the envy of many in the social, educational and recreational fields. He knew his staff and his objectives, and ensured that they were carried out. His very presence at the many school functions and activities gave a tremendous feeling of wellbeing to both staff and pupils. Many a wet, cold Saturday morning he and Anne spent on the sidelines of playing fields supporting the pupils. 

Dougie was always a keen sportsman. As a boy he excelled in rugby and athletics, winning the javelin competition at the Scottish schools athletic championships and playing on the wing for Heriotís 1st XV. A cartilage injury, incurred while playing for Heriotís FP 1st XV, brought a promising senior career to an end. 

Undaunted in his love for rugby, he took up refereeing and in the 1950s and 1960s was one of the leading referees in the country, culminating in a very successful international refereeing career. He took part in many exchange refereeing commitments within the Five Nations, taking charge of his first international match, Wales v Ireland, in Cardiff in 1961, followed by England v France at Twickenham in 1963. In 1964 he had the great distinction of refereeing England v New Zealand at Twickenham, an honour he again received in 1967. Taking charge of the All Blacks twice in oneís career was indeed an honour in those days. In 1967 he took charge of the Wales v England game in Cardiff and ended his international career in command of the famous Wales v Ireland match in 1969. 

His administrative abilities were also recognised by the rugby fraternity. He was co-opted to the Scottish Rugby Union as Referees Adviser, was chairman of the Edinburgh Referees Society and gave great advice and support to the Midlands Referees Society. When the Rugby World Cup was held in the Five Nations countries in the seasons 1991-92 and 1999-2000 Dougie was one of Scotlandís members on the Referees Organisation and Allocation Committee. He was also a committee member and president of Howe of Fife Rugby Club. A lifelong member of Heriotís FPRC, his photograph is displayed at Goldenacre alongside other Herioters who have represented their country. 

Dougieís interests and hobbies were many. He was a member of Raith and Abbotshall Curling Club and participated in the last outdoor Grand Match Bonspiel on the Lake of Menteith in 1979. He was a Rotarian, a member of Leven Wayfarers Society and a member of the Friends of the Botanic Garden in St Andrews, where a bench now stands in memory of Anne who died in 2003. He loved to walk in the Lomond hills and the Perthshire and Angus Glens and to visit bird sanctuaries and gardens, binoculars in hand. 

Dougieís love of golf knew no bounds. He was an active member of Lundin Golf Club, and even latterly when unable to play he met regularly with golfing cronies at the club where they would put the educational and rugby worlds to rights while watching play on the 18th green and admiring the peaceful view over Largo Bay. 

Dougie and Anne made several trips to New Zealand to visit Alan and his family. Dougieís lifelong interest in young people continued in his love for his grandchildren in New Zealand and in Scotland. Dougie was a man of wide interests, of strong opinions quietly expressed. His friends will remember his passion for knowledge, his love of Scotland, his pride in his family and his unfailing gentleness and courtesy. 



I-61.jpg (33297 bytes) Wales v Ireland 11 Mar 1961 Cardiff 9-0  
1963.jpg (304218 bytes) England v France 23 Feb 1963 Twickenham 6-5  
1964-nz.jpg (370207 bytes) England v New Zealand 4 Jan  1964 Twickenham 0-14  
70.jpg (289925 bytes) Wales v England

Keith Jarrett match

15 Apr 1967 Cardiff 34-21  
1967-nz.jpg (445348 bytes) England v New Zealand 4 Nov 1967 Twickenham 11-23  
I-69.jpg (36318 bytes) Wales v Ireland

Triple Crown season for Wales

8 Mar 1969 Cardiff  24-11  


The McMahon family have kindly donated some of Dougie's programme collection to the museum. The following programmes are from his days as an assessor. Illustrated are London Division v New Zealand 1983 and 4 Scottish inter-district  dating between 1987 and 1990. In the middle pages Dougie has noted his observations of the referees and points of law. He would have then sat down with the referee after the game and talked through these points giving advice when necessary.

Please click on the thumbnails to view these images in greater detail.

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Dai Richards (World Rugby Museum), Alan & Beth McMahon, The Scotsman 



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