George Niven
George Niven
George Niven
● George Niven (FAG)

born in Scotland

George Niven was born on Tuesday, 11th June, 1929, in Blairhall, West Fife.

The 5' 9 (12st 4lbs) goalkeeper signed for Willie Thornton's Thistle on Friday, 16th February, 1962, having most recently been with Rangers.

Aged 32, he made his debut appearance on Saturday, 17th February, 1962, in a 1-0 friendly defeat away to Queen of the South.

George kept his first clean-sheet on Saturday, 24th February, 1962, in a 3-0 win at home to Dundee in the SFL First Division.

He registered the last of his 65 clean-sheets on Saturday, 27th April, 1968, in a 0-0 draw away to Airdrieonians in the SFL First Division.

He played his last game for the club on Monday, 29th July, 1968, in a 4-1 friendly defeat away to Blackpool, having clocked up an impressive 255 appearances as a Jag.

His club-list included Blairhall Colliery, Coupar Angus, Rangers and Partick Thistle.

George died on Friday, 18th July, 2008, in Kingussie, aged 79.

Bio Extra

Niven was signed to Rangers from junior side Coupar Angus in 1951 by manager Bill Struth. He made his debut against Aberdeen on 19 April 1952 in the final league match of the season, which finished 1–1. He spent over ten years at Ibrox and won five league championships, two Scottish Cups, one League Cup, four Glasgow Cups and three Charity Cups. He made 327 appearances in total for the club.

In February 1962 he joined Partick Thistle. Whilst in Maryhill he would make over 250 appearances in all games and become an ever-present in the Jags goal. He never missed a league match in three separate seasons; 1962–63, 1963–64 and 1967–68. 1962-63 was particularly memorable as Thistle gave Rangers a real challenge for the Scottish flag, being neck and neck with the Ibrox club until the springtime. Remarkably, the 'keeper broke his wrist in the 2-1 New Years Day win away to Clyde. It was reported that he'd be out for up to 10 weeks, but a combination of fast healing and a weather-disrupted fixture card meant that he didn't miss a single League game in the entire campaign.

As a result of their excellent 3rd place finish in the League the previous season, Partick Thistle qualified for the Inter-Cities Fairs Cup for 1963-64 and George played in 4 matches of that campaign, defeating Glentoran but losing out to Spartak Brno. He eventually lost his place as number one at Firhill when old rival from Rangers, Billy Ritchie, joined Thistle. After not featuring competitively in the first team all season in 1968-69 (his last competitive game being a 0–0 League draw at Airdrie in April 1968), he left in the summer of 1969. Niven retired from playing shortly after this.

Niven never played for the Scotland national football team. It is understood that he has played the most games for Rangers of any Scottish player who has not been capped by Scotland. Niven was selected twice for Scotland, but had to withdraw each time due to injury and was replaced by Frank Haffey. He did, however, represent the Scottish League XI seven times.


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