Alex would play a key role during Aberdeen's glory years, helping the club to unprecedented domestic success under the management of Sir Alex Ferguson. There he would become one of the finest centre backs in the club's history. During his time at Aberdeen, Alex would make 493 appearances for the club, helping them to win the Scottish Premier Division on three occasions, as well as the Scottish Cup five times, the Scottish League Cup twice, the European Cup Winners' Cup and European Super Cup. He was named the 1990 SFWA Footballer of the Year.
By 1987 he joined the Scottish FA International Roll of Honour, after being capped 77 times for Scotland, the fourth most caps in Scotland's history. He was inducted into the Scottish Hall of Fame after it was introduced in 2004. He was also recognised in a Scottish Television fan poll of Scotland's Greatest Team. He would play in three World Cups and even go on to captain his national team.
Alex ended his distinguished playing career with Aberdeen in 1994 to take charge of Motherwell as player/manager. He immediately led the club to an impressive second place finish but couldn't build on his debut season as manager of the club. He moved to Hibernian hoping to mastermind a great escape as the club languished in the relegation zone when he joined. He was powerless to stop them getting relegated but brought them back to Scotland's top league at his first attempt. Alex took Hibernian to a mid-table finish and Scottish Cup semi-final, before he started well in his next season in charge. This brought Alex a move to Rangers.
In his first season Alex would lift both domestic cups with Rangers, but would not win the league after a poor run of form before he arrived. He followed this up with a treble win in his second season before his third was marred by financial trouble, leading to the loss of key players; they would finish second. He quickly turned Rangers' fortunes around once more, managing to take an unlikely title win in 2005 on a dramatic final day of football. He would also lead the club to the knockout stages of the Champions League, becoming the first Scottish side in 12 years to do so.
Alex took charge of the Scottish national team, for his first of two spells in 2007. There he would help Scotland to what has been described as one of their greatest victories, as they defeated France away from home, but it ultimately was not enough to take a place in the World Cup finals and Alex left for Birmingham City.
Alex helped Birmingham City to a famous League Cup win in the 2010-11 season, which he described as one of his "greatest achievements". Alex had spells at Aston Villa, Nottingham Forest, Genk and Zamalek before he took over Scotland for his second spell. Alex has featured regularly on both stage and screen as a football speaker. Engaging in the media as a pundit and with stories of his experiences he has become a sought-after motivational speaker able to pass on important lessons in leadership and teamwork.