Govan, Glasgow born inside forward Bobby McKay first played junior Scottish football with Parkhead White Rose lifting the Scottish Juvenile Cup, Glasgow Junior Cup, and Glasgow North Eastern Cup in the season of 1917-1918., Vale of Clyde in 1918, Parkhead Juniors in 1919 and Neilston Victoria in 1920 before joining Scottish League Greenock Morton in 1921, winning the 1922 Scottish Cup with Morton as they triumphed 1-0 over Glasgow Rangers in the Final in front of 75,000 at Hampden Park in a major cup shock, which to this day is Morton’s only major trophy.
He joined Glasgow Rangers in the 1925 close season scoring 8 goals in 29 appearances for The Gers between September 1925, when he scored on his debut in a win over St Mirren, and when he moved south to join First Division Newcastle United for £2,750 in November 1926. He made his Football League debut against West Bromwich Albion the same month scoring a debut hat-trick in a 5-2 victory and scoring 11 goals in 28 appearances playing alongside other notable Scottish expats such as Hughie Gallacher, William Wilson and William Gibson that season as Newcastle won the League Championship for the first time since 1909. He got another hat-trick in a 4-3 win over Derby County in September 1927 and soon after was awarded his only Scotland cap, playing against Wales in a 2-1 victory at The Racecourse Ground, Wrexham in October 1927.
He managed 12 goals in 33 appearances in 1927-28 but after 5 games in the 1928-29 season he was sold to rivals Sunderland in October 1928 scoring twice on his debut at Manchester City and netting 15 goals in his first season at Roker Park. Described as “a bundle of tricks and a sublime passer of the ball” he created a number of goals that season in particular for Dave Halliday, who scored 43 goals as Sunderland finished 4th in the League. But his form and opportunities tailed off and in December 1930 he was sold to Second Division Charlton Athletic after 17 goals in 51 appearances for Sunderland, his two seasons at The Valley saw 8 goals in 52 appearances. In November 1932 he signed for Bristol Rovers and he bagged 15 goals in 1933-34 including a hat-trick in a win over Cardiff City in October 1933. He finally joined Newport County in June 1935 after 20 goals in 106 games for The Pirates, scoring 3 times in 18 appearances during a single season at Somerton Park before retirement
McKay took his first steps into management with Dundee United in July 1939 but managed only four League matches before the outbreak of Second World War caused the suspension of the competition in September 1939. When it was decided to abandon the League programme, McKay’s contract was terminated and he left the club, just three months after arriving. After the War he managed Irish League club Ballymena United from 1947 to 1949 guiding them to win the County Antrim Shield in 1948.