John Hughes, legend who wore his heart on his sleeve


I got to know John Hughes through his good friend, CQN’s own, Alex Gordon.  He was in his 70s by then, but retained a charm and mischievousness.  He loved talking football and, in particular, Celtic, who he continued to follow as a fan.  Unlike you and I, when John talked Celtic, there was an edge that could only come from playing for the club you loved.

Had he cared less, missing out on Lisbon would not have mattered.  It did, though, you could hear the pain in his voice when talking about it.  The five European Cup games he played that season, however, brought the team to the final.  A chance not converted three years later in Milan also troubled him; John wanted to deliver for Celtic as much as anyone ever did.  He scored the equaliser in Celtic’s home semi-final at Hampden against Leeds, front of 136,000 people, which will forever remain an attendance record for a European Cup match.

I often found the Lisbon Lions faultlessly diplomatic.  John, however, told it as it was.  Some of his experiences cut too deep to bandage over.  Fans recount the past through the prism of football results, for players like John, memories of events past were about what you were like as a person.  I am glad we had his testimony to eventually add to the annuls of Celtic history.

On the park, he was a Bear of a man.  A striker with strength whose record as goal scorer is bettered by only seven others in Celtic’s illustrious 134-year history.  He took the club through its most transformational time, the 1960s, when Celtic went from being domestic also-rans to kings of Europe.

For most of us, the most enduring memory of John will not be of a prolific footballer, it will be of a smiling legend we met at Celtic Park.  The Celtic world is enormously poorer today; how lucky we were to have such heroes.  Our condolences to John’s family and close friends.

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  1. P67 — JH / Yogi seemed to be the most informative way into the club of 65-71.



    His comments / stories seem to provide the detail and complexity that the official history / others seems to miss or who told stories to their own advantage.



    Big loss to the club and the support.

  2. “For most of us, the most enduring memory of John will not be of a prolific footballer, it will be of a smiling legend we met at Celtic Park.”



    That’s for sure, a lovely man. I met him when he was signing his book, I told him I was in tears when I heard he wasn’t playing in Lisbon, he said “Me too!”

  3. He came from an era when extraordinary men still saw themselves as ordinary men.


    RIP Yogi.

  4. Big Yogi, a giant of a man and a player defenders were terrified of when he ran at them. As soon as the ball went out to him on the wing the jungle roared in expectation. John Hughes RIP one of my favourite Celtic .players

  5. Knew Yogi well from my Coatbridge days.He had the Great Bear in Greenend.Lovely,quiet spoken guy.Sure most of the Brig bhoys on here have been in it.


    When he first moved up to the first team,he was a CF.Very raw and cumbersome looking.Scored a few goals.Broke Norrie Martins fingers with a shot in Glasgow Cup tie at CP..Massive transformation when Jock moved him wide left.Unplayable.

  6. He scored two goals against Big Jack Charlton at Hampden in a Scottish League International.Gave him a bit of a roasting.Same year as his goal against Leeds and Jack in the Semi Final.


    Big Jack spoke about him being virtually unplayable.

  7. Scullybhoy at 7.54



    Someone needs to tell Ronnie Simpson that we aren’t a long ball team LOL

  8. John Hughes stature with the Celtic support was always more secure than he could imagine.



    He has the goals return that belies the charge of inconsistency that was levelled at him.



    He was capable of great things on a football pitch and he was loved when he was doing this.



    We need to continue to take care of those that are left.




    I’m good TB, thank you. Rough for some friends out East.



    A week tomorrow I’ll be back in the old country.

  10. Think a bit of mischief afoot,regards PL.Shit being stirred.


    I read,or was told he was not interested in the chairman’s post.


    Then again,it is PL.





    Ive completed the Bank Transfer of £30 for the SUPERBRU when I phoned my Bank this morning.


    I hope that you are well mate, we must get a few Beers very soon.


    It will be a TROLL/MULTI MONKER/CHUMP Free Zone.



  12. A simple one word podium.Brilliant.




    If a word could paint a ..


    And John Yogi Hughes did.


    A great Celtic man


    Who I seen as a boy in mudbogs,ruckhard frozen ground,always playing his part as Jock would change things.if only that extra time shot vs feyenoord when yogi broke through.


    Always at parkhead,will join the greats that look down on us.


    Rip John yogi Hughes




  13. Bhoyjoebelfast on



    Glentoran 4 Celtic 5( February 1963)


    Was at the game the big man scored 4 and Johnny Divers the other.As a 13 year old I was seeing the Bhoys for the second time in Belfast,the other game v Belfast Celtic select 1952/53.


    ●Remember Yogi v Kilmarnock at Celtic Park,beating 5 or 6 men,nearing the goals and blasting over,but that was Yogi.●

  14. !!BADA BING!! on 2ND AUGUST 2022 12:50 PM


    Hearts EL dates are 18 & 25 August, Hearts at home will be on the Sunday now…..






    Hey good sir. So the Hearts game is now 3pm on the 21st? The Sunday?

  15. From my brother:




    When he had “McNeills” Pub in Govanhill, Yogi told me that when the Football Focus Goal of the Season Panel was voting for the 1971/2 award, Jock Stein voted against his goal for Crystal Palace vs Sheffield Utd and was the casting vote in favour of the Radford goal for Hereford…Yogi said he’d been told that by other panel members. Stein couldn’t face him thereafter.

  16. My memory is getting poor at my age, but I think it was New Year 1964 that I saw big Yogi run riot on a slippery Celtic Park against that lot from the Southside. I think he wore a pair of tennis shoes and stayed upright while others were falling all over the pitch.



    Have other great memories of him. I thank the good Lord I got to see him in so many great games after Big Jock came to us as Manager.



    Rest in Peace, Yogi. Have a great time up above with the wee Mhan and the rest of the Lions.

  17. There’s Fallon, Young and Gemmell who proudly wear the green,



    There’s Clark, McNeill and Kennedy the best there’s ever been,



    Jim Johnstone, Murdoch, Chalmers, John Divers and John Hughes,



    And sixty thousand Celtic fans who proudly shout the news.



    Celtic, Celtic that’s the team for me

  18. !!BADA BING!! on 2ND AUGUST 2022 12:50 PM


    Hearts EL dates are 18 & 25 August, Hearts at home will be on the Sunday now…..





    I just checked flights, the evening flight back to Dublin is sold out so i can’t transfer flights or even buy a new flight. Aer Lingus isn’t even an option these days. Edinburgh flight back is still there but extra, cash, extra day – I’ve given up



    What a waste of money

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