Bob Robertson
Bob Robertson
Bob Robertson
● Bob Robertson, 1889 (HA)

probably born in Scotland

Robert Livingston Robertson was born on Monday, 22nd May, 1865, in Partick, Glasgow.

The midfielder joined Thistle in 1883, having most recently been with Partick Elm.

Aged 18, he made his first known appearance on Saturday, 1st September, 1883, in a 9-0 friendly win at home to Glasgow Thistle.

Bob scored his first known goal for Thistle on Saturday, 20th October, 1883, in a 6-0 win at home to East Stirlingshire in the Scottish Cup.

He scored the last of his 47 known goals on Saturday, 11th April, 1891, in a 3-1 friendly defeat away to Morton.

He played his last game for the club on Wednesday, 13th June, 1894, in a 5-4 defeat at home to Govan Select in a benefit match, having clocked up (at least) an impressive 208 appearances for the Thistle.

His club-list included Partick Elm, Partick Thistle, Corinthians and Vale of Leven.

Bob died on Friday, 10th April, 1908, in Partick, Glasgow, aged 42.

Bio Extra

Son of James & Jessie Robertson (née Livingston).

Bob, along with Willie Paul and pals formed The Partick Elm football club circa 1881. That's one way to start your career off! Wonder if they were at school together? They found some success too, getting their names in the papers and progressing in local cups. Bob was first to join up at Muir Park in 1883, and Willie followed suit a year later, quite possibly with Bob having “opened the door” so to speak. As we now know, Partick Thistle were the lucky ones; Bob and Willie both turned out to be great servants.

“Boab”, a versatile powerhouse, went on to rack up over 200 known appearances for the club over the course of the next ten years (with a great many unrecorded), which included spells as club captain. His successful Thistle career was underlined by the fact that he played three times for the Glasgow FA; vs. Dunbartonshire in 1884 (D3-3), and against Sheffield in both 1887 (W10-3) and 1889 (W8-1). He started out as a half-back in 1883, although he went on to have long spells as a full-back and even played in forward roles, as and when required. He was always keen on getting forward and was noted for having decent shooting ability – evidenced by his impressive haul of nearly 50 known goals for the dark blues.

A great highlight for club and player came in March 1885 at Muir Park when Renton arrived for a Grand Challenge match, just three weeks after having been crowned Scottish Cup “champions”. This was a real glamour occasion for Partick – and a rare coup for the match secretary and the treasurer. Thistle, trailing 1-0 at half-time, came from behind to secure a famous victory by 2 goals to 1. It’s said that the winning goal was a real team effort in a move that involved Willie Paul, Bob Robertson and James Miller, the latter doing the needful with his head. Brilliantly, the Scottish Umpire was moved to comment: “The scene that ensued almost baffles description – men, women and children giving vent to one exultant yell.” These were the deeds that were important in moving the club forward, instilling a great sense of pride locally as well as raising Partick Thistle’s stature on a countrywide level.

In common with many others, he served the club on and off the field, taking up various committee roles throughout the 1880s. It’d be very surprising if a man of his stature wasn’t on the sub-committee responsible for team selection. Bob is one of the super seven who contributed to all three victories against Rangers in season 1888-89. An unusual opportunity came his way in May 1890 when he guested at half-back for the famous Corinthians v Falkirk District in the annual "Camelon Brass Band Promenade Concert and Sports". It was a nice entry for the C.V.! Bob hung up his boots late in 1892, but had another interesting alternative club experience in March of that year before he did so. Thistle were down to play Vale of Leven at home on the 26th, but, owing to the foul weather the teams were “not in a humour to take the field”. Furthermore, the Vale 'keeper hadn't turned up. After discussion and delay, it was agreed that two periods of thirty minutes play would be a compromise and Bob's services as stand-in goalie were kindly offered to - and accepted by - the visitors. Vale of Leven, with Bob in goals, won by 4 goals to 3! He came out of retirement for one last hurrah in the summer of '94, appearing in the annual charity benefit for the Whiteinch Orphanage.

Like Willie Paul, Bob was an amateur and, like his father, he was a mason to trade, operating as foreman as he progressed. His sudden death from a haemorrhage in April 1908 came as a shock to the family, leaving a widow, Jemima. His distraught brother, James, signed the death certificate. James had sat in the S.F.A. council chambers for years and presumably put his contacts book to good use, setting up a benefit match between Rangers and Celtic. The Dundee Courier (18 April 1908) noted that “many of the older generation of footballers will be interested in the match”, a sure sign that Bob was held in some degree of renown and regard. The 0-0 draw took place on Tuesday, 5th May, 1908, at Ibrox. Despite wet weather on the night, there was a good attendance, and Jemima and the family hopefully benefitted accordingly. How very decent of the Old Firm.


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