Dunfermline Athletic

Norrie Tribute Night - Part Four

Sunday, 17th Jan 2016

Continuing the stories from the Norrie McCathie Tribute night in the Carnegie Hall on Friday 15th January.

Bobby Robertson told a story about the reward of a holiday in Majorca for winning promotion to the Premier League in 1987:-

"We headed off to the airport after the game. I was a young doctor at the time - quite cool. The shirts of choice for young professional people were Lacoste. I got myself this very smart, very expensive Lacoste top in navy blue.

"First night in Majorca I was standing ordering a couple of drinks at the bar when I felt this hand on my neck. Next my shirt was ripped right off my back. I turned to find McCathie standing with hit, he said 'sorry doc I thought it was a Falkirk top'.

When Physio Pip Yeates came on stage he said

"Norrie was never ever in the treatment room unless he was picking up a bucket of iced water to throw over somebody or if somebody was on the muscle stimulating machine and you walked out he would come in and yanked it up.

"He was such a hard and physical player but he did it face to face and he never wanted to see anybody hurt. If his ankle was bruised and swollen up he was the type who would say that it's alright."

Ayr United Manager Ian McCall was next up. He was 22 years old when he joined Dunfermline for season 1986-1987 and was to make 43 appearances out of a possible 46 with Norrie predictably you the only ever present. Ian recalled how he came as close as anyone to entering into the McCathie-Watson 'hallowed circle':-

"I lived with Norrie for five months, I squatted with Winker at Melville Terrace in Edinburgh for four months.

"The other team I played in at Dunfermline with Ross Jack, Istvan Kozma, George O'Boyle was good but that team (1986-1987) had something really really special about it.

"Leish was right about one thing, which doesn't happen very often" he joked. "There have been very many great Dunfermline teams and the ones before that I do not know about. The current one is not bad, the second best team in the league!"

To much hilarity the Ayr United manager was asked by Brian McLauchlin if he was looking forward to the play-offs, Ian was quick to respond:-

"It will be a very good team that will win the league ahead of Dunfermline. On a serious note all the other managers complain about their budget but Dunfermline deserve that budget because they are a Premier League club and should be higher anyway.

"We beat them at East End Park when it was the two first teams but they beat our reserves twice!"

Former Chairman Roy Woodrow praised Norrie's leadership qualities:-

"He was a leader not just on the park but off the park, even in his business. I don't think we will ever forget Norrie McCathie, I certainly will never and I don't think the fans will either. When we come to East End Park on a Saturday we only need to look to our left to see the stand named after him forever more."

Former Heart of Midlothian striker, John Robertson gave the opinion as an opponent:-

"Norrie was strong, he was fair. When we came to East End Park it was treated as a derby game. It was the ancient capital of Scotland but that had moved to Edinburgh and there was this old rivalry like a big city derby. East End Park with 12,000 or 13,000 people in was a fantastic place.

"Norrie was difficult to play against because of his position - normally you would play against a flat back four. Norrie was athletic, not electrifyingly quick. He could read the game, the games were special and he was a very special player. He found his place at the back and he was commanding. He had a presence about him and did a really good job for Dunfermline. He was the glue that brought the team together."

Robbo reminisced how great the games had been between Hearts and Dunfermline after the Pars were promoted to the Premier League in 1987, he said:-

"We miss clubs like Dunfermline, I would love to see Dunfermline back in the Premier League, I would love to see Falkirk back in the Premier lLeague, Morton back because they bring something to Scottish football. They brought a marvellous travelling support when they came to Tynecastle and vice versa. The quicker Dunfermline get back in the Premier League, the better."

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