'Chasing the circle' with the needle might not be possible simply because the needle's position depends upon your ability to have a combination of ISO+shutter+aperture which meets the meter's expectation of 'proper exposure'...inability to put the needle into the circle might be due to the need to adjust one to three parameters to set a suitable combination. But read on...
Cameras of that era relied upon the absolutely consistent voltage output by the Mercury Oxide cell, which put out 1.35v until it suddenly dropped dead. In comparison, alkaline cells start about 1.5v and continuously decline as they are used, down to about 1.25v. Meters of that era might NOT be able to be compensated with ISO adjustment, because the amount of error in the meter reading could be not only dependent upon the voltage of the battery at the time, but also dependent upon the level of light being metered! So use of an improper battery might be the reason that you cannot center the needle in the circle.
There are some adapters on the market today which permit alkaline button cell to be used, with a voltage regulator built into the adapter so that constant voltage is provided to the camera. The MR-9 adapts current button cells to fit the Canon FT, which takes the PX625 form factor mercury cell. http://www.criscam.com/mercury_battery_adapters.php
Go to this site to download a PDF of the user manual of this camera. http://www.butkus.org/chinon/canon/c...t/canon_ft.htm