Bob "Toffee" McColl was a clerk, the son of a clerk, who just happened to be also one of the best footballers Scotland has every produced. He was as well the figurehead for a business with his younger brother, McColl's the newsagent and confectioners that until very recently has again been emblematic and ubiquitously Scots.
He was born in 1876 right in the centre of Glasgow in a street that has long since disappeared under railway-tracks. But like many others that produced footballers of note the family soon moved into the city's southern suburbs, in this case to Mount Florida. And it was there with Queen's Park on his doorstep that he joined Scotland's doyen club as an eighteen year old and spent seven years as an amateur, a two-footed centre-forward cum inside-left with a fearsome shot.
In fact it was only at the age of twenty-five with already eleven caps and the record of being the first player to score against all three of the other Home-Nations and the only Scot to score hat-tricks against the same that he joined the professional ranks, first for three seasons and sixty-four games in England at Newcastle, helping to elevate that team to one of the most powerful south of the border and winning one cap more, and then for three seasons more back in Glasgow with Rangers.
And in 1907 at the age of thirty-one he returned to Queen's Park for a final three years, exceptionally allowed by the club to revert to being an amateur, winning a final cap in 1908, thirteen in all and thirteen goals. This before retiring in 1910 and devoting himself to the business.
Bob McColl was to marry late, to Helen Burge in 1919, she thirteen years his junior. On the certificate he is described as a "Chocolate Manufacturer". And as that he would notionally remain until 1933, when the business was sold on.
And the pair were to have just one child, a son, who was killed in the Second World War, whilst on active service. Toffee McColl himself would die at the family home in Newton Mearns at age of eighty-two in 1958 and be buried in Cathcart Cemetery, his wife surviving him by fourteen years.
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