Police investigate death of Scottish football stalwart

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The Independent Online

Police and gas engineers were last night investigating the deaths at home of the captain of Scotland's leading First Division football team and his girlfriend.

Norrie McCathie, 34, and Amanda Burns, 26, a hairdresser, were found dead on Monday evening at McCathie's home in Fife, when McCathie's business partner John Watson and a friend, Geoffrey Menzies, became worried after he missed training on Monday.

They broke into the farm cottage in Crossford at around 6pm to find the pair fatally poisoned by gas fumes. Post-mortem examinations yesterday showed that both died of carbon monoxide poisoning and gas engineers were last night examining the cottage. Fife police said there were "no suspicious circumstances".

Watson and Menzies were accompanied by Julie Gillies, daughter of the club director Andrew Gillies. On Sunday, the Scottish Sunday Mail reported that she was pregnant with McCathie's child, something he denied.

Fans and players paid tribute to McCathie, who played for Dunfermline Athletic for the past 15 years, captaining the side for the last eight. He helped the club to promotion three times, including two seasons in the Scottish Premier League, and led the side out at Hampden in the 1991 League Cup Final.

Next Tuesday he had been due to make his 500th League appearance in a Dunfermline shirt. The club, which tops the Scottish First Division, postponed last night's away fixture against Dumbarton, and Saturday's home game against Clydebank also looks doubtful. The two pubs in the area owned by McCathie were also closed last night as a mark of respect.

Jim Leishman, a former Dunfermline manager, said yesterday: "He was a winner as well and he was like a rock in our defence. To be with one club for 15 seasons is rare these days and he was a hero with the Dunfermline fans."

The club secretary, Paul D'Mello, said: "There is just absolute devastation here today. He was like the bricks of the club. We are all just devastated."