Born: May 7, 1939; Died October 10, 2013.
Norrie Martin, who has died at the age of 74, was one of the unluckiest goalkeepers ever to play for Rangers, an Ibrox career that stretched from 1958 until 1970 yielding not one first-team winner's medal despite chalking up more than a century of competitive appearances.
A Fifer by birth, Neil "Norrie"Martin was born in Ladybank a few months before the outbreak of the Second World War, but it was in Ayrshire that he appeared in the junior football ranks with Dalry Thistle.
A call-up to the senior ranks with Hamilton Academical followed in 1957, but after a few months he returned to Dalry before being snapped up by Rangers the following year.
Competition for the yellow goalkeeping jersey was substantial in the late-1950s at Ibrox - the experienced George Niven was the man in possession, but there was also the up-and-coming Billy Ritchie who would make the position pretty much his own in the great Rangers' team of the early 1960s.
There was, however, an early debut for the teenage Martin on August 23, 1958 in a Scottish League Cup-tie against Hearts at Tynecastle before 42,000 spectators only for an injury jinx to strike that would haunt the Fifer for much of his Ibrox career. The keeper had made a good impression against the reigning Scottish League Champions until he was stretchered off with a fractured skull.
It would be almost five years before Martin would make his League debut - on 13th May 1963 in a 0-1 defeat at Rugby Park, Kilmarnock. By then George Niven had moved onto Partick Thistle, leaving Martin as the recognised understudy to Billy Ritchie.
The 1964-65 season finally saw Martin given a chance to establish himself in the Ibrox first-team, playing in seven consecutive League games as a disappointing season drew to a close with only the League Cup secured. Remarkably, in a Glasgow Cup-tie at Celtic Park on April 30, 1965 before a 41,000 crowd, he ended up playing outfield against a Celtic side under new manager Jock Stein when - having suffered a hand injury - he swapped places with full-back Davie Provan.
Martin was the man in possession of the yellow jersey at the start of the following campaign - only for the injury jinx to strike again with, unbelievably, a second fractured skull sustained at Pittodrie.
The 1966-67 season finally saw the keeper established as the acknowledged N0 1, making 38 competitive appearances, including seven in a European Cup Winners Cup campaign that reached all the way to the Nurnberg Final.
A modest, unassuming character, Martin would rapidly gain a reputation as a safe pair of hands - unspectacular, not flamboyant, but a brave last line of defence that a manager and his team-mates could rely on unfailingly. His father - who owned the Towans Hotel near Prestwick Airport - offered his son a bonus of £20 for every clean sheet achieved.
His European debut had come during that selfsame campaign - a second-round clash with the holders Borussia Dortmund. The first leg at Ibrox saw Rangers secure a narrow 2-1 win, but it was in the return in Stadion Rot Erde that saw the goalie produce what was perhaps his finest display for the club, keeping a clean sheet in a goalless draw that saw the Scots progress to the last eight despite playing the entire second-half with 10 men after losing Bobby Watson through injury.
Martin retained his place in victories over Real Zaragoza and Slavia Sofia as the Ibrox men reached their second European final in six years but it was a campaign that would end in heartbreak with the mind's eye forever recalling Martin's arched body as Bayern Munich's Franz Roth's extra-time winner looped over him into the net.
That same campaign the goalkeeper played at Shielfield Park in the shock Scottish Cup elimination at the hands of Berwick Rangers - with again Martin captured in every photograph of Sammy Reid's winning strike.
The arrival of new signing Erik Sorensen from Morton in the summer of 1967 restricted Martin's appearances to just four league - but two of them were significant with a goalless home draw against Dunfermline signalling the end of long-serving manager Scot Symon's Ibrox career and a 3-3 draw at Cappielow late in the campaign proving fatal to Rangers' championship hopes.
Martin regained his place in season 1968-69 - only for a campaign that promised so much to ultimately end disastrously with a heavy 0-4 defeat to Celtic at Hampden in the Scottish Cup Final.
There would be just the one final competitive outing in a Rangers jersey for Martin - a 1-3 home defeat at the hands of Hibernian on October 11, 1969 before being released by manager Willie Waddell at the end of the season.
In all, 110 first-class appearances had yielded 41 shut-outs, an impressive statistic, but not one winner's medal at first-team level. although certainly a number with the reserve team.
Brief spells followed with East Fife, Queen of the South and Hamilton Accies before he retired from professional football to take over the running of the family hotel.
The Towans Hotel, Prestwick, was the family business for more than 40 years but was destroyed by fire in 1996.
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