Larkhall born Bobby Hogg, Celtic’s captain during WW2

Seldom have Celtic been better served than they way they were by Bobby Hogg who played something like 538 times for the club – a figure that puts him up there with Alec McNair and Billy McNeill for long service, but in Bobby’s case, so many of his appearances were in war-time football.

He was born in Larkhall (of all places!) in 1914 and no-one would have said that he was born with a green and white spoon sticking out of his mouth, but that has never proved any disadvantage to anyone with good will and determination.

He joined Celtic from Larkhall Royal Albert in 1931 as a callow 17 year old. He was not tall, but was a stocky and committed right back who never shirked a tackle. In 1932 the increasingly “ill-willy” Willie Cook departed for Everton, but although Cook had been a fine right back, the Ulsterman’s presence was hardly missed as Bobby Hogg slid seamlessly into the spot, and made it his own for the next 16 years until 1948.

Not all these 16 years were pretty ones, but Hogg won the Scottish Cup in 1933 and 1937, the Scottish League in 1936 and 1938 and of course the Empire Exhibition Trophy in 1938 on that lovely June night at Ibrox 1938 when Kennaway, Hogg and Morrison played their glorious part in keeping Everton at bay.

He also managed to score one of his very rare goals in the Glasgow Cup in August 1936 against Third Lanark. It was from 65 yards, it was claimed! We can only assume that the goalkeeper lost sight of it, otherwise he must have had a very strong right foot!

(L-R) Hazlett, Bobby Hogg, Jim McLaughlin.

These were the good years and Hogg was rewarded with several Scottish League caps and one full International cap when Scotland won 3-1 against Czechoslovakia in Prague in May 1937 when the evil Hitler was already showing signs of wanting to grab that wretched and unfortunate country.

Hogg never played again for Scotland (other than in unofficial war time Internationals) but was chosen as travelling reserve many times. On such occasions, a player was allowed by the not always generous SFA to keep his Scotland jersey.

This had one humorous side effect when on one occasion during the war, Scotland did not have enough ration coupons to equip the team! Fortunately Bobby had collected so many Scotland jerseys from his “travelling reserve” outings, Scottish League games and war-time Internationals that he was able to provide jerseys for the whole team – free of charge!

Being in a reserved occupation in the mining industry, Bobby was never called up to join the Army, and played for Celtic all through the desperate years of the war.

He was captain by this time, and although the team performances were dire, Bobby was usually exempt from criticism for his total commitment. More or less his last game for Celtic was the famous one at Dens Park in 1948 in which Celtic saved themselves from relegation.

He finished his playing career with Alloa, but he was never known as anything other than Bobby Hogg of Celtic.

He married a Paisley girl whose brother had played for St Mirren, and was living in Paisley at the time of his death in April 1975 at the comparatively young age of 60 after a series of operations. He was a much respected, but under-valued, Celtic player.

David Potter

About Author

I am Celtic author and historian and write for The Celtic Star. I live in Kirkcaldy and have followed Celtic all my life, having seen them first at Dundee in March 1958. I am a retired teacher and my other interests are cricket, drama and the poetry of Robert Burns.


  1. My papa, Bobby Hogg in the middle, I have the cap and jumper (wool) he got when Scotland played Czechoslovakia, I also have a gold medal unsure which cup it was from as well as a large painting of him running out the tunnel that was painted by a fan.If I take photos how can I send them to you in order to add? Lovely bio of him BTW