Bobbie Bruce

Robert "Bobbie" Bruce is one of the very few players born and dying in or around Paisley not to play for one of the major, local teams. His birth in 1906 , the son of a joiner, was in the Renfrewshire town itself, his death in neighbouring Elderslie But his senior footballing career, as a small but nippy left-winger, was with Aberdeen for four seasons and Middlesbrough for seven, in all well over three hundred starts. And even his only cap had a whiff of the distant. It was almost at the end of his top-flight career and against Meisl and Hogan's Austria in 1933, a 2-2 draw at Hampden. 

And even Bruce's start at Aberdeen had not been from Paisley. Whilst he had been initially in the town's Boys Brigade team he was spotted playing in Govan, said by the club to be a junior internationalist, one of Pat Travers' first signings as he moved from Dumbarton to the Granite City. It was 1924, he was eighteen, and he would be in some company. Top scorer and with the most appearances in 1924-5 was Wattie Jackson. His younger brother, the peerless Alex Jackson, just nine months older than Bobby, was on the other wing. Jimmy Jackson Jnr, "The Parson" to be was a full-back. Jock Hutton was the other. And even when Bobbie moved on it was not to no-one. He was signed by Peter McWilliam, who knew a player when he saw one, just as Middlesbrough had been promoted and relegated in successive seasons. Bruce saw them repromoted immediately. And once McWilliam had walked he also left, aged thirty, tried his hand unsuccessfully at Sheffield Wednesday and then dropped to Ipswich in the Eastern Counties League, seeing them into the Southern and then Football Leagues before in 1938, at thirty-three retiring. 

He was then to dabble briefly and unsuccessfully at player-management before joining the RAF for the war years and post-war heading home to work as a labourer. And that is about it. It is not clear if he had a family, even if he married. All that is certain is his death in Elderslie in 1978 at the age of seventy-two.

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