12 February 2022

The club was extremely sad to learn that former striker, Norrie Davidson, had passed away on 20 November at the venerable age of 88.

He was one of a select group who have scored a winning goal for Hearts in a Cup Final, that memorable occasion coming on 27 October 1962 at Hampden Park. On that rain-drenched afternoon, Norrie knocked home a cross from his dressing room pal, Willie Hamilton, to record the only goal of the League Cup Final against Kilmarnock, much to the delight of the Hearts supporters in the crowd of 51,280. 

Norman Davidson was born at Kintore, near Aberdeen, on 25 October 1934 and he became an apprentice electrician after leaving school. He was also a speedy, robust and direct centre-forward with his local football team, Kintore Juveniles. The 5’8” attacker was subsequently recruited by the Aberdeen junior side, 25th Old Boys, and in October 1951, just before his 17th birthday, Norrie was asked to join the Chelsea ground-staff.

He did not settle in London and in August 1953, Norrie revived his career, briefly with Fraserburgh, and then as a re-instated Junior with Inverurie Loco Works. The bustling forward became a prolific marksman and earned a provisional contract with Aberdeen in January 1955.

Norrie replaced the injury-hit Paddy Buckley and went on to score a highly impressive 84 goals in 146 competitive games for the Dons. His appearances included the Scottish Cup Final in April 1959, although Aberdeen lost 3-1 against St.Mirren. However, the previous week, the wholehearted striker had delivered two goals to help Aberdeen defeat Rangers at Ibrox and move the Pittodrie team clear of the relegation zone.

With the departure of International forwards, Alex Young and Jimmy Murray, and Willie Bauld nearing the end of his career, Hearts required a powerful man to lead the attack and in February 1961, Norrie Davidson was secured from Aberdeen for a fee of £8,000.

In season 1961-62, the opportunist attacker was still a cover man for Willie Bauld, but he was trusted by Hearts’ manager, Tommy Walker, and among his 12 competitive appearances was Norrie’s European debut. On 27 September 1961, he played in the away leg against Royale Union Saint Gilloise when Hearts won 3-1 in the Fairs Cup. Norrie Davidson scored twice in what was Hearts’ first away win in Europe. In addition, on 18 December 1961, the dashing attacker played in the League Cup Final Replay against Rangers and although Norrie scored with a fine header, Hearts lost 3-1.

He was regarded as first choice centre-forward in 1962-63 and scored 14 competitive goals, with Willie Wallace and Alan Gordon also profiting from his clever flicks and headers. Apart from that season’s League Cup Final heroics, the foraging striker also helped Hearts into a challenging position in the Championship until a big freeze postponed League matches for almost three months. During that time, Hearts fell off the pace and finished fifth. Nevertheless, for a few months, Norrie and his team-mates gave the supporters some hope that the glory days of the 1950s might return. The season also finished on a disappointing note for Norrie who pulled a muscle in October 1962 and was in-and-out of the team by the end of the campaign.

Although he was a regular for Hearts at the start of 1963-64, and played two Fairs Cup games against Real Zaragoza, Tommy Walker pursued a target-man striker, Tommy White, and Norrie Davidson was transferred to Dundee United on 29 October 1963 for £6,000.

He moved to Partick Thistle in February 1964 and then St.Mirren in June that year. After being released by the Paisley club in April 1965, Norrie had a spell in the English Southern League with both Margate and Ramsgate before joining South African side, Boksburg FC, in December 1966. He and his family eventually settled in Edinburgh where Norrie worked at Longstone Bus Garage for many years. 

Norrie Davidson was asked to help fill the enormous gap caused by the departure of three International strikers and he wholeheartedly tackled that challenge. With 28 goals in 58 competitive games and an overall total of 34 goals in 62 appearances for Hearts, Norrie proved to be a fine attacker and always a team player. In later life, he bravely battled dementia and our sincere condolences are extended to his family and friends.

David Speed