Martin Compston was born in 1984 and grew up in the town of Greenock,in Inverclyde (part of Renfrewshire). He dreamed of one day playing for his local soccer team,Morton, with his brother Barry. He attended St. Columba's High School in Gourock, Inverclyde, and left in his fifth year to pursue his dream as a soccer player and was later on signed to play on the Morton Footbal Team.
In 2000, Martin landed the lead role of Liam in the 2002 film Sweet Sixteen when Ken Loach was holding auditions at his high school. The movie was filmed in Martin's home area including areas such as: Greenock, Gourock, Inverkip, Kilmacolm, and Wemyss Bay. The film was a success and brought Martin into full view towards the public. The movie even brought some fame to him in Inverclyde. Many people thought it was a bad idea for him to be so popular, since the movie had a lot to do with drugs and under-age drinking, but Ken Loach later on made a statement that the movie was only filmed there, and wasn't meant to give Greenock and Inverclyde a bad reputation.