THE Celtic supporters will applaud the memory of club legend John ‘Yogi’ Hughes before today’s 3pm kick-off against Hearts at Parkhead.
The swashbuckling, goalscoring forward was a massive fans’ favourite during his 12-year Parkhead career which began in 1959 when he signed as a 16-year-old from Junior club Shotts Bon Accord.
Hughes scored on his debut in a 2-0 win over Third Lanark on August 13 the following year and collected 189 goals to make him the club’s eighth highest-scoring player in history.
TEENAGE RAMPAGE…John Hughes, at the age 17, terrorises Rangers defenders Eric Caldow and Doug Baillie in a Celtic win in a League Cup-tie at Ibrox.
Friend and author Alex Gordon, who co-wrote the Hoops great’s autobiography, ‘Yogi Bare: The Life and Times of a Celtic Legend’, said: “I know the Celtic fans will show their appreciation today with rapturous applause for a genuine Celtic man.
“John was the sort of exciting, adventurous and entertaining performer who could get the fans roaring during his playing days.
“I’m old enough – and lucky enough – to remember the days in the atmospheric and ancient Jungle when the chant of ‘Feed The Bear’ used to reverberate around the ground when Yogi was on the ball.
RARING TO GO…John ‘Yogi’ Hughes emerges from the Celtic Park tunnel in determined mood before an Old Firm confrontation.
“I swear the old place used to shake to its foundations when Yogi got into that powerful stride and decided to go on a solo raid on the opposing defence.
“He was a colourful character and it was never dull when he was around, that’s for sure.
“I had the honour of co-writing his life story. When we neared completion, I asked Big John how he would like to be remembered.
“Celtic legend? Celtic great? Celtic icon?
“In a heartbeat, he answered: ‘Celtic man,’ he smiled, ‘that’ll do for me.’
“And, in every sense of the word, John ‘Yogi’ Hughes was a Celtic man. When the boots were put away, he was in among the supporters at Celtic Park.
“He remained a fan until his sad passing.
“I am sure the Celtic supporters and everyone else connected with the club will mark today’s occasion with the sort of stirring reception so deserved by a special player who could raise the decibel level when he wore those green and white hoops.
“John ‘Yogi’ Hughes will never be forgotten.”
* DON’T miss the unbeatable match report from Celtic v Hearts this afternoon – only in your champion CQN.