Doug always seemed destined to make an impact in the game having captained both the Aberdeen primary and secondary school select teams.
While at Kittybrewster Primary School he had appeared alongside Denis Law and while at the Grammar School he had been capped at schoolboy level.
He was signed by manager Tommy Pearson despite interest from both East Fife and Forfar Athletic. With steady employment as a civil servant in the local income tax office, Doug initially asked for a few days to think the opportunity over. He finally agreed to sign but only as a part-time player.
His first appearance for the reserves was against a Rangers 'A' team whose forward line contained Sammy Baird, Max Murray and Ralph Brand and he came through with 'flying colours'.
Doug's first team debut came shortly after, with Jim Clunie unavailable (playing for the RAF) and Willie Clydesdale out with a chill, so with only one reserve team appearance he was given his first team debut against Clyde. Doug got off to a good start when he made a timely and successful tackle on John Coyle, the Clyde centre-forward who appeared well placed to find the net.
From the 1-0 defeat it was seen that the only bright feature from the game for Aberdeen was the excellent debut of Doug. Taking no risks throughout the game and appearing completely free from big occasion nerves, he had "every reason to look back on his Scottish League debut with pleasure." Doug was returned to the reserves for the following week but with the transfer of Jim Clunie to St Mirren at the start of the following season, Doug found himself as the first choice centre half.
However he struggled to replicate the good form that he had shown the previous season, "Young Doug Coutts did not always inspire complete confidence as centre half," and was replaced at centre half by George Kinnell.
He was back in the team in December and more or less remained there until a disastrous run of results in March 1961 saw him out of the side. For the 1961-62 season he was the stand in centre half for first choice George Kinnell making only a handful of appearances. However, the following two seasons saw him as the regular centre half missing only a handful of games through injury.
A lanky and sometimes ungainly centre half Doug had a tough streak in him but despite all his abilities he sometimes did not inspire confidence.
This was certainly the case at the start of the 1964-65 season Doug Coutts when a poor start to the season saw manger Tommy Pearson move him onto the right wing. Doug's credentials as a winger were in truth built on somewhat slender ground having only played there in the Summer Cup in May 1964.
Manager Pearson pointed out that Doug, "has the height, is fast and he has a good shot" he continued that this was something he had thought about for some time. Despite showing no lack of effort in the game against St Johnstone (12th September 1964) and scoring in the 2-1 victory there were few observers convinced that Doug was a right wing player.
This appeared to include manager Tommy Pearson and the following week Doug was in his more customary position of centre half. It was to be short term return as John MacCormack was signed in October 1964 and effectively ended Doug's career at the club. Doug then asked for a transfer as he was moving to the tax office in East Kilbride before the start of the 1965-66 season.
However, as a part-time player he was never going to be in new manager Eddie Turnbull's plans and was one of the 17 players freed at the end of the 1964-65 season. Signed by Berwick Rangers, he became immortalised as a member of their team which beat Glasgow Rangers 1-0 in the Scottish Cup in January 1967, a game in which he gave a terrific performance and confirmed what many Berwick supporters believed Doug was playing in a league below his level. From there he moved to Wigan Athletic, helping them win the Northern Premier League championship in 1970-71. He was also a member of the side which gave Manchester City a huge test in the FA Cup at Maine Road losing only 1-0. Doug ended his football career with Altrincham in 1973.
"He is fast and strong and very cool for one so young. A part-timer who works in the Inland Revenue".
Source: Blackpool programme, 28th January 1961
One of the most commanding and stylish players in the Second Division, Coutts has been a Berwick stalwart for three years since coming from Pittodrie. He has recently been operating at left half, with much more freedom to roam upfield.
Source Programme Notes from Aberdeen v Berwick Rangers, 25th January 1969