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niven, george rangers

George Niven

George Niven’s association with Rangers began in 1947 where, on trial, he walked into an Ibrox dressing room filled with club legends and internationalists such as Willie Waddell, Ian McColl, George Young, Willie Thornton, Sammy Cox, ‘Tiger’ Shaw and Torry Gillick. It was a daunting experience for the young goalkeeper from Fife who would eventually sign from Coupar Angus Juniors.

With ‘Iron Curtain’ hero Bobby Brown still going strong between the sticks, George would need to bide his time in the Reserves and his debut would not arrive until the final league match of season 1951/52. With Brown unavailable for selection, Niven took his place in goal as Rangers drew 1-1 with Aberdeen at Pittodrie (Liddell scoring for Rangers). His big break was followed by a Highland Tour and he did enough to retain his place as Rangers No.1 for season 1952/53.

It would prove to be a successful campaign with George securing his first league championship title (he would win 5 in total). The Scottish Cup was also clinched with a win over Aberdeen at Hampden in a replay. George had been injured in the first match (ending 1-1) resulting in namesake Young taking over in goal for a period of the game. With 8 stitches applied to an ear wound, he reappeared for the second half and and had recovered sufficiently to take his usual place for the replay 4 days later.

Changed days indeed but on the night of the first game he later attended a supporters’ club dance where he passed out (the effects of the day finally taking their toll).

He would once gain find himself competing for a starting line up place with Brown during season 1953/54 but was very much a first team player for the remainder of his Ibrox career with the exception of the second part of season 1957/58 when Billy Ritchie made his own introduction.

A cartilage operation in 1961 appeared to mark the beginning of the end for George at Ibrox with Ritchie now firmly establishing himself the first choice option for manager Scot Symon in what was one of the great Gers sides.

During more than a decade at Ibrox, George made 327 first team appearances collecting 8 major honours. He would go on to join Patrick Thistle for whom he excelled in one of their best ever sides. Ironically, it was Billy Ritchie who once again eventually took his place at Firhill.

Along with former Rangers and Scotland Captain George Young, the two George’s would later run a successful coffee bar in Glasgow’s City Centre before Niven returned to his native Fife followed by retirement in the Highlands.

George Niven died on July 17th 2008, aged 79.

Stats

Competition
League
League Cup
Scottish Cup
Europe
Total
Starts
221
59
32
15
327
Sub
0
0
0
0
0
Goals
0
0
0
0
0
Other
33
0
0

Honours

Competition
League
League Cup
Scottish Cup
Europe
Wins
5
1
2
0

George Niven

D.O.B
11 June, 1929
Signed
1 June, 1951
Coupar Angus
Left
15 February, 1962
Partick Thistle
Competitive Debut
Aberdeen v Rangers 1-1 19 April 1952
Appearances
327
Goals
0
Bio
Gallery
niven, george rangers
DOB: 11 June, 1929
Signed: 
Left: 
Competitive Debut: Aberdeen v Rangers 1-1 19 April 1952
Total Appearances: 327
Competition
Starts
Sub
Goals
League
221
0
0
League Cup
59
0
0
Scottish Cup
32
0
0
Europe
15
0
0
total
327
0
0
Honours
League
5
League Cup
1
Scottish Cup
2
Europe
0
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