He joined Dunfermline from Cowdenbeath in August 1981 and went on to make a club record 576 appearances, including 497 league appearances. Although they were relegated to the third tier in 1983, they secured back-to-back promotions in 1986 and 1987 and spent four of the next five seasons in the top flight. In 1991, a McCathie penalty kick in the League Cup semifinals against Airdrie won him the right to captain the side in the final, but they lost to Hibernian, 2-0.
Known as much for his exuberance off the pitch as for his tenacity on it, McCathie--who was a part owner of two local pubs--was a favorite among Dumfernline supporters, many of whom considered him to be the living personification of the club.
But in 1996, two days after he played in a loss to St. Mirren, friends of McCathie's became alarmed when he missed training. They went to his home and found his body, along with the body of his girlfriend, 26-year old Amanda Burns, both dead from carbon monoxide poisoning.
Dunfermline, who by then were back in the second tier, went on to win promotion that year, playing in McCathie's memory. And in 1998, the club named a stand in his honor.