MARVIN Andrews is still believing. His faith is shared with friends and strangers, his messages as inspiring in football as they are away from the game.
With his career on the park seemingly drawing to a close, he is awaiting guidance as the next phase of his life begins at 40.
He has achieved the ambition that he set out to in Trinidad and Tobago during his childhood, but further targets have yet to be defined.
Andrews is one of the great characters of Scottish football and is fondly remembered from the multitude of stops he has made across our game. His impact today remains profound, his inner strength helping others as well as shaping his own life.
He has turned out for eleven different clubs here, going from the Champions League with Rangers to the Junior ranks during a spell with Kirkintilloch Rob Roy. There has been interest this season in his services from outwith the professional setup but all have been politely declined so far.
If League Two Clyde proves to be his last club and the phone doesn’t ring, Andrews will be able to retire content.
“It was always my dream to play until I was 40 years of age,” he told SportTimes. “That was the drive for me.
“Yes, I had a lot of obstacles in the way, obviously my knee was the biggest news in Scottish football when I had doctors telling me that I would never play again. Playing for Clyde last season, I achieved that goal.
“I still have that flame in me that I could do a job for someone, even though I will be 41 in December.
“Football is everything I knew growing up. I am grateful to God and thankful that he has blessed me in unbelievable ways in the things that I have achieved.”
Andrews may not be appearing at an SPFL ground near you these days but the defender still pulls on his boots. He continues to train to keep himself fit and he plays in charity matches alongside a host of former Rangers stars.
He has business interests and is always welcomed back to Ibrox by the fans who took him to their hearts. For the man from San Juan, Kirkcaldy remains home but Scottish football may have seen the last of him.
“People still tell me I could make a good coach because of the type of guy that I am,” Andrews said.
“I don’t want to do it because people want me to do it, I want to do it because I have the desire to do it.
“I will not do something if I don’t want to do it. I never saw myself as a manager.”
Having overcome adversity to achieve success on the park and live the dream for club and country, Andrews will not look back and wonder what might have been.
His story is a remarkable one and he won’t write the next chapters by himself as he seeks inspiration. He knows only too well that anything is possible in the future.
“I am still praying and asking God for direction in the next stage of my life,” Andrews said.
“At this present time, the future for Marvin Andrews is bright. I can definitely tell you that.
“When you walk with God, he can direct you anywhere at any time.
“One of my biggest fears is doing something that God did not create me to do. I don’t want to be involved in something that is not God’s plan for my life.”
A career that took Andrews to the top of Scottish football, and even to a World Cup, will end with no regrets.
His attitude and raw, uncompromising approach made him an integral part of many sides, while his bubbly persona endeared him to supporters. It is that quality that makes him a fan favourite even today.
That connection is enhanced through his social media activity, with his Twitter account a mixture of inspirational messages and self-recorded singing sessions in his car as he entertains his 21,000 followers with a wide-ranging repertoire.
“I am a cheery guy, I like to laugh and have fun and enjoy life,” Andrews said.
“Anyone who knows Marvin Andrews will tell you I am always laughing.
“One day I thought I would sing a song and put it on Twitter, just for a laugh. I never thought I would get this response. It is unbelievable.
“I am not a singer, but I am putting a smile on somebody’s face. They might be in a bad place, they might be going through a difficult time in their life.
“If I can cheer them up, my job is done. It makes me laugh when people comment on it.
“Even walking along the street people shout ‘Marv, what are you singing today?’”
His renditions of ‘Twist and Shout’ and ‘Three Little Birds’ show the Trinidadian at his jocular, grinning best but Andrews is not just a social media entertainer.
His faith continues to shape his life but he is not the only beneficiary. He is approached by strangers in need and makes himself available to offer guidance where possible.
Even those that do not know Andrews know of him, and feel that they can trust him.
“I was speaking to a guy on Facebook who told me he found his mum dead in his room and he was finding it hard to recover,” he said.
“He asked for help and he believed that God would help him. I chatted to him as best I could and asked him if he goes to church.
“He told me he had a Bible and I tried to give him direction to let him know that God could help him in the situation he was facing.
“He is a young boy who lost his mum and it was very difficult for him. I get different requests from people from all walks of life because they know the faith that I have.”
It is that conviction in his beliefs that gives Andrews hope for a friend and former team-mate. A church engagement in Northern Ireland meant he was unable to attend a tribute evening for Fernando Ricksen in Glasgow recently, but Andrews was there in spirit.
Ricksen’s fight against Motor Neurone Disease is as inspiring as it is tragic. Like many of the Dutchman’s former colleagues, Andrews regularly checks on his progress and refuses to give up hope.
“To see Fernando with a disease that has made him the complete opposite of what he was is really heart breaking and very tough,” he said.
“I can talk to him, he will want to talk to me, but he just can’t. I try to see how he is doing through other people.
“It doesn’t matter what mistakes you have made in life, nobody wants to see someone in such a state. I can only pray and hope that one day he can recover.
“I sent a video message to him and I said that God can make him well. I believe it with all my heart. God can heal Fernando and that is the message that I send to him.”
It was alongside Ricksen that Andrews experienced one of the most remarkable days of his career. It was May 22, 2005. It was Helicopter Sunday.
The picture of Andrews on his knees, pointing to the heavens encapsulates not just his achievement but that of Rangers during a memorable campaign. He had defied doctors, Alex McLeish’s side had overcome the odds.
“The two things people always say to me are ‘how is your knee?’ and ‘keep believing,’” he smiled.
“I still get tingles when I think of what a great year it was. Scottish football will probably never see anything like it again. Generations of fans will talk about Helicopter Sunday.
“It was fascinating the way it happened with my knee, disproving the medics, the games. You could make a movie from it.
“I still pinch myself and try to get my head round it. How did it all happen? It is a miracle and I thank God for it.”
His efforts that season and his famous message to the supporters earned Andrews a unique place in the affections of the Ibrox crowd.
The defender would spend just two years in Light Blue before he returned to Raith Rovers, the club where he began his adventure on these shores.
He may have left Rangers, but Rangers have never left Andrews. The passing of time, and subsequent trials and tribulations, have only increased his admiration for the club.
“A great person is not known by where they are, but what they have come through to get where they are,” Andrews said.
“That is how greatness is measured. What Rangers has come through to be where they are today is magnificent and it shows the greatness of the club. You just have to applaud it.
“It shows the greatness of the fans, the club as a whole. As long as these fans are alive, Rangers will never die.
“For me, that is what greatness is. Yes, you can win a lot of trophies.
“But greatness is judged when you are going through a difficult time and it is how you respond to that. That is what makes Rangers absolutely amazing.”