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. When I was at School, `Yogi Bear` was a popular TV cartoon character. As my surname was Barr, I was soon given the nickname of `Yogi`.


    As I sit here , in front of me is the autobiography, `Yogi Bare.`and in the frontispiece are the words:




    John (Yogi) Hughes




    James (Yogi) Barr.



    I liked it at the time; I love it now.

  2. Loved watching big Yogi in full flight.


    A sight to behold.


    With Jinky on the right and Yogi on the left we were truly spoiled in the sixties.

  3. glendalystonsils on

    So big Yogi’s away . All I can say is , God’s having a good transfer window .

  4. HotSmoked,



    Nice one Jim.great wee bit of history shared.


    Going thro twitter last night there was an excert from Gerry McNee book you’ll never walk alone on how the name attached itself.yogi.




  5. Big Yogi was an enigma. We never really expected what he would do when he got the ball at his feet, we just hoped. Memerising runs with a fantastic finish – or possibly not. He was a great Celtic player and member of the Celtic family. RIP

  6. Back to Basics - Glass Half Full on

    Terrific tributes paid today to a genuine legend.



    Respect to all contributors.



    John’s goalscoring record got me looking at the all time Scottish scorers list.





    The number of Celts peppering the top dozen or so places is expected.



    More surprising though are the number of Motherwell players from that golden era across the 1920s and early 1930s.



    They must have been some team.

  7. HS ,



    there is a clip of the grace song booming out across the east end taken by someone in brigeton.



    there and doon dalmarnock they must hate celtic match days like that.

  8. One of the very few times I watched a Celtic game from the Celtic end was the 5-1 game. It was a foggy New year’s day. Couldn’t really see the Rangers end but all the goals, including theirs, were scored at our end. I was with my Uncle John, as my Dad never went to the game against them. I was 14 and I’ll never forget it. Celtic were simply brilliant that day, including the enigma that was the Bear.



    Thank you, Yogi, for memories that will last a lifetime.



    By the way, thanks to whoever posted his great goal for Crystal Palace. That is the first time I have seen it in colour and the first time since I saw it on Match of the Day on the day.

  9. FRIESDORFER on 2ND AUGUST 2022 6:17 PM


    Hot Smoked





    What time bus did you get from Dundee?






    reminded me of a wee translation fail from my sister in law in tenerife.



    bus stops right out side her Adeje aprtment.



    her spanish husband asks us something in spansh, she translatesin english with



    the bus going for is in another time

  10. FRIESDORFER on 2ND AUGUST 2022 6:20 PM



    We got the 1:10pm


    For `normal ` 3PM KO`s , we would get the 11am.

  11. Just noticed that the New Saints , who KO`d Linfield in the CL qualifiers, play in green and white hoops !

  12. HOT SMOKED on 2ND AUGUST 2022 6:49 PM


    Did I read correctly that Yogi was actually at the KO for the game on Sunday?






    I read it as watching on the telly

  13. itscalledthemalvinas on

    Thanks Yogi,my old dad loved you(in a football way) says he could see the joy in your eyes when you battered it into the huns.

  14. SAINT STIVS on 2ND AUGUST 2022 3:31 PM


    I see chatter about Lawwell as chairman (boo dont do it celtic plc).







    Any other primary candidates ?







    any left fielders ?







    old school , trusted partner, Martin O’Neill ?







    new era new thinking , what about Brendan O’Hara.







    new era, get with the diversity programme – Elaine C Smith








    What about Patrick Grady?



    He’s at a bit of a loose end at the moment so might be interested.

  15. 442 park the bus on

    Woof, Patrick Grady?


    Is he still on the go?


    I thought he’d be jailed by now.


    Elsie McSelfie Krankie will need to get her wee, twisted, Celtic hating erse into gear, or Lizzie Truss will hing oot awe her dirty washing.


    Not before time!

  16. Union SG are growing into this game. Started off cautious, which you’d expect for a team finding it’s way in Europe.



    The midfielder and goalscorer, Teuma, looks a very capable player.