Larkhall, Lanarkshire born outside left Bobby Archibald began his football career with Rutherglen Glencairn in 1911 and joined Scottish League Albion Rovers in February 1913, scoring 5 goals in 7 appearances and having a brief spell on loan at Hibernian the spring of 1913, where he scored in his only game for the club in a 3-1 win over Hamilton Academical in April that year. He joined Third Lanark in May 1913 but made limited impact with The Warriors playing only twice before re-joining Albion Rovers in October 1913, where he scored 5 goals in 17 appearances in the remainder of 1913-14.
He signed for Aberdeen in May 1914 but of his six years at Pittodrie, three were spent with other clubs and in the Army where he served in France and Denmark during the First World War. During that time he had spells on loan at Glasgow Rangers where he scored 3 goals in 12 appearances between August 1916 and January 1917, he made a single appearance for Ayr United during the 1917-18 season and 4 for Dumbarton between January and April 1918, before returning to Aberdeen, where he was freed at the end of April 1920 after 16 goals in 113 appearances for The Dons. Archibald was a small player at just 5 ft 4in tall and weighing just 10 stone, His physique enabled him to become a fast player and his skill on the wings marked him out as a danger to opponents.
He joined Raith Rovers days later scoring 10 goals in 146 appearances for them over the next four seasons, having a spell on loan at Royal Albert in April 1924 before re-joining Third Lanark for a £300 transfer fee in May 1924. After 2 goals in 38 appearances for Lanark during 1924-25 he headed south of the border signing for Second Division Stoke in June 1925, where he scored on his Football League debut against Stockport County that August, but despite being an ever present, scoring 10 goals and being joint top scorer in the League with Harry Davies in 1925-26.
He helped The Potters to an immediate return to the Second Division in 1926-27 when they won the Third Division (North) Championship, his fine footwork proving to be too much for Third Division full backs as he set up numerous chances for Charlie Wilson to score his 25 goals, and he proceeded to miss only 6 games over the next four seasons as Stoke consolidated their position in the Second Division.
After six years of fine service he was awarded a benefit match, he chose the final home match of the 1930-31 season against West Bromwich Albion. The second highest crowd of the season, 26,064 paid £1,540 6s 2d to thank Archibald for his efforts. He spent one more season at the Victoria Ground during which the now 38 year-old lost his place to Harold Taylor. Once manager Tom Mather had brought in Joe Johnson in April 1932 he allowed Archibald to join Barnsley, having scored 40 goals in 276 appearances for The Potters.
He played just eight matches for The Tykes, scoring once in 1932-33, and after spending several seasons in the reserves he eventually retired in May 1937 at the age of 42. At the end of his career he continued and involvement in football scouting from time to time for Bradford City manager Fred Westgarth.
He was the older brother of Jock Archibald who played for Reading, Newcastle United, Grimsby Town & Darlington.