He was just 15-years-old when he was returning from the Western Infirmary, where he had been to see his ill grandmother, when a sick-minded individual threw a brick through his bus window.
McDougall copped the impact of the brick as well as the shards of glass, which embedded themselves deep inside both eyes.
He was rushed to the same hospital he had just left, and hoped and prayed that he would soon wake up from his living nightmare.
But his predicament was very real indeed. He had been 100 per cent blinded in both eyes and it took three months of grim determination and some incredibly complex skills from one of the country’s top surgeons to save his sight.
McDougall could see again but it would be many weeks before he would summon up the courage to get out and play football again with his pals.
He had no intention of ever playing again, and instead got a job in a local brick works, where he seemed happy with his lot. It was a colleague who eventually pestered him into turning out for Possilpark junior side, Glasgow Perthshire.
He was soon banging in the goals for the Shire, which attracted the attention of new St Mirren boss, Alex Ferguson, who invited the 18-year-old over to Paisley for a trial.
When he turned up, though, he had forgotten his boots, and was sent packing with a flea in his ear by no-nonsense Fergie.
Clydebank were soon on the radar and he was snapped up by the Bankies who were, at that time, plying their trade in the First Division.
McDougall struck up an incredible partnership with Blair Miller at Kilbowie and the scouts were soon converging on the small, all-seater stadium checking him out.
Celtic – McDougall’s boyhood favourites – wanted his signature, but club owner Jack Steedman advised him to go to St Mirren, who had initially offered £100,000, and then upped that by another £80,000.
It was a club – and national – record and McDougall soon fitted into life at Saints, where he again struck up a successful partnership, this time with goal machine Dougie Somner.
McDougall stayed at Love Street for five seasons but would eventually clash constantly with new boss Alex Miller, who had succeeded Ricky McFarlane. He left for pastures new.
This time Alex Ferguson, now boss of Aberdeen, did get his man and Big Mac headed for the Granite City.