John Hughes is Celtic’s seventh top scorer of all-time, with 188 goals for the Hoops in 383 appearances.
He scored on his debut in a League Cup tie against Third Lanark, and he would net a total of 14 goals that season in all competitions.
Only Stevie Chalmers scored more goals that season, though the following season, only Hughes’ second as a Celt, he scored 26 goals to be the club’s top scorer.
Having come through the ranks at the club, he was one of a clutch of promising young players on which the hopes of the club rested, and having suffered through his early years at the club from a lack of success, Hughes was in the Celtic team which lifted the Scottish Cup in 1965 with a 3-2 victory over Dunfermline Athletic, a triumph which ushered in a golden era under Jock Stein.
Hughes never had the easiest of relationships with the Celtic manager, and having played in five of the eight games which took the club to the European Cup final in 1967, he might have expected a starting berth in Lisbon. That didn’t happen, much to the player’s disappointment. He was in the starting XI for the 1970 European Cup final, but that game would end in defeat for the Hoops.
PRELUDE TO PARADISE A Coatbridge Bhoy, born on April 3, 1943, Hughes starred for St Augustine’s School before blazing a trail with Kirkshaw Amateurs and Junior side, Shotts Bon Accord. It was from there that he made the move to the team had always supported and joined Celtic on October 3, 1959 at the age of just 16. It wouldn’t take this towering striker long to make the step up to the first team.
DEBUT BHOY Still only 17-years-old, John Hughes got the call-up to the first-team on August 13 for the opening game of the 1960/61 season, a League Cup tie against Third Lanark at Celtic Park and the 25,000 crowd saw him open the scoring in the 50th minute for the first of what would be a very impressive tally of 188 goals, before Neilly Mochan tied up the 2-0 win for Celtic.
On the field that day were two other members of the squad that conquered Scotland and Europe in season 1966/67 - Billy McNeill and Stevie Chalmers. A week after making his debut, Hughes ran Rangers ragged in the same competition at Ibrox and scored what proved to be the winner in a 3-2 victory for the Hoops watched by a crowd of 60,000.
One of John Hughes’ greatest nights came in the semi-final of the European Cup in 1970 when Celtic faced Leeds United.
HIGHLIGHTS There were no fewer than six championship wins for Hughes, all of them in a row and he also played in the game that kick-started the glory years under Jock Stein, the 3-2 Scottish Cup final win over Dunfermline in 1965. He also played in four League Cup-winning teams, the first three successively and the first of those features two Hughes penalties in a 2-1 victory over Rangers watched by 107,600.
As far as individual performances go, though, there was his glancing header to put Celtic back in the driving seat on aggregate against Leeds United in the 1970 European Cup semi-final at Hampden as 136,505 looked on. However, in domestic terms, the red letter day was a performance against Aberdeen on January 30, 1965 when he borrowed Billy McNeill’s sandshoes to play on the icy rock-hard surface – he scored five goals in the 8-0 win.
Against Aberdeen in January 1965 he borrowed Billy McNeill’s sandshoes to play on the icy rock-hard surface – he scored five goals in the 8-0 win.
BOWING OUT Just as Kenny Dalglish was breaking into the team with three scoring performances against Rangers at Ibrox in as many weeks, John Hughes was having his last hurrah. He played in the first game at Ibrox and started three other League Cup ties plus one appearance as a sub before playing his final league game on September 25, 1971. It was at Broomfield and Celtic were 2-0 up when he replaced Jim Craig in the 60th minute and the Hoops went on to win 5-0, with Lou Macari netting a hat-trick while Bobby Lennox and Dalglish also found the net.
His final game was against BK 1903 Copenhagen in the European Cup with Celtic 2-1 down from the first leg. Willie Wallace had levelled the tie on aggregate by the time Hughes replaced Bobby Lennox at half-time. Roared on by a 53,000 crowd, the Celts took the game thanks to Tommy Callaghan finding the net and another goal from Wallace for a 4-2 aggregate win. Just over two weeks later, he had moved to Crystal Palace.
BEAR NECESSITIES John Hughes was known as ‘Yogi’ and although the genesis of this is debated – a likeness to Yogi Bear, or, in the slogan of the cartoon character, he was ‘smarter than the average bear’, or he got lost in the woods on one of Neilly Mochan’s legendary pre-European match walks before emerging from the undergrowth unharmed – it did lead to the ‘Feed the Bear’ chant that also served Roy Aitken.
However, one chant that couldn’t be levelled at big Yogi was, ‘There’s only one John Hughes’. Because, there have in fact been three players of that name to play for the club. The first was a keeper who played five games while on the club’s books between 1922 and 1925. The other was the John Hughes who played between 1995 and ’97 who, of course, with not a whiff of originality, was also known as Yogi.
"I think it was the most important goal I ever scored for the club. The place exploded."
HAMPDEN ROAR One of John Hughes’ greatest nights came in the semi-final of the European Cup in 1970 as he scored the vital equaliser when Celtic faced Leeds United. The Hoops had won the first leg at Elland Road 1-0, and on an incredible return leg, held at Hampden Park in front of a European Cup record crowd of 136,505, Jock Stein’s side won 2-1 on the night to reach the final with a 3-1 aggregate win, despite losing an early goal when Billy Bremner scored for the English side.
383 CELTIC CAREER APPEARANCES League: 236, Scottish Cup: 43, League Cup: 63, Europe: 41
188 CELTIC CAREER GOALS League: 115, Scottish Cup: 25, League Cup: 38, Europe: 10
11 CELTIC CAREER MAJOR HONOURS League Titles: 6, Scottish Cup: 1, League Cup: 4
Date of Birth
3 April 1943
2-0 v Third Lanark (H) on 13 Aug 1960
Signed For Celtic
3 October 1959
“It was one of my favourite goals and I am glad I scored on such a fantastic night" After scoring against Leeds United