Obituary: Norrie McCathie

The death of Norrie McCathie, who was found gassed in his home on Monday, once again brings tragedy to Scottish football, less than a year after the untimely death of Davie Cooper. The loss of McCathie, captain of Dunfermline Athletic and one of the Scottish game's most recognisable and respected players, will have a devastating effect on everyone connected with the club he served for 15 years.

McCathie is one of two people in recent times who could lay claim to the title "Mr Dunfermline", the other being Jim Leishman, the club's manager, with whom McCathie formed a potent partnership which took Dunfermline to the heights in the Scottish game. Promotion to the Premier Division was won on two occasions, in 1987 and 1989, with McCathie the dominant figurehead of both campaigns. He stood firm at the back for three seasons in the Premier Division and proved a rock in the heart of the Dunfermline defence for the last three seasons as they again chased a place among the elite.

A rugged defender with a trademark moustache, who was also capable of scoring goals, McCathie played 563 games for the club, having been converted from a left-sided midfield player by Leishman on his arrival from their Fife neighbours Cowdenbeath in 1981. One of the highlights of McCathie's career was to captain Dunfermline in the League Cup final of 1991, after leading by example in the semi-final against Airdrie, in which he scored the vital penalty which booked a Hampden appearance against Hibernian.

Leishman described his former captain as a "Dunfermline great of the Eighties and Nineties"; everyone in the game as well as those who knew McCathie personally has been shocked at his death. He had a ready smile for customers in the pub and the night club "Nico's" in Dunfermline which he ran with his former team-mate John Watson, the two forming a successful business partnership.

Last year he revealed that his lover Julie Gillies, the daughter of a Dunfermline director, was expecting a child, and claimed people in the town were trying to stir up bad publicity against him. However the enduring image of McCathie is of him giving his all for the cause on the football field and the sight of a Dunfermline side running out without him at their head will be a strange and sad one.

David McKinney

Norrie McCathie, footballer: born Edinburgh 23 March 1961; married (two children); died Crossford, Fife c 8 January 1996.

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