Who was Bobby Shearer?

Bobby Shearer was a Scottish professional footballer and manager. He represented his country in four full international matches.

Shearer, a defender, played 423 times across all competitions for Rangers from 1955 to 1965, including a run of 165 successive games.

The player previously played at Hamilton Academical, his hometown club, and also for Highland League outfit Inverness Thistle while on National Service in the Army in the middle of the 20th century, at Fort George Barracks just outside Inverness.

Bobby’s combative playing style led to the player being nicknamed ‘Captain Cutlass’. Shearer made his full Scotland debut in 1961, in the infamous 9–3 defeat versus England at Wembley.

It was frequently joked later that as an orange ball had been used, Rangers star Eric Caldow and Shearer had refused to kick it, while Celtic players Billy McNeill and Frank Haffey had refused to touch it.

In spite of this inauspicious start, he won further caps against the Republic of Ireland two times and Czechoslovakia in World Cup qualifiers, his final match being a 4–0 defeat in Bratislava.

He captained the Gers to their second domestic treble in the 1963–64 campaign. In all, the right-back won five league championships, and four Scottish League Cups and three Scottish Cups during his time at Ibrox.

The defender also deputised as a goalkeeper (at least) twice, by coincidence versus Hearts at Tynecastle Park on both occasions, taking over from Neil “Norrie” Martin in a League Cup fixture back in 1958 which Hearts won 2–1, and more comfortably an 82-minute shift in place of the injured William Ritchie known as Billy Ritchie in a 3–1 Gers victory in 1960.

After leaving the club, Shearer moved to Dumfries outfit Queen of the South as player-coach in the era of stars such as Billy Collings, Iain McChesney and Allan Ball.

In the winter transfer market of 1967, Shearer was appointed head coach of ill-fated Third Lanark, who folded later that year. Bobby moved back to his hometown side Hamilton Academical and served as their chief, amongst other tasks.

The club have had their fair share of leaders in their time but few have matched the unbridled loyalty, commitment and passion to the cause shown by Bobby Shearer and it is probably worth mentioning that growing up beside him in that star-studded Rangers squad shaped the attitudes of his famous successor as Rangers skipper – John Greig.