Govan, Glasgow born inside left Bob McTavish began his football career with Avondale, he played for Ibrox Roselie in 1905 and Glasgow Petershill in 1906 before joining Scottish League Falkirk in 1907, making his debut at Hamilton Academical that November. Playing along with his brother Jock McTavish, Jock Simpson and others, Falkirk became one of the best teams in Scotland, finishing runners up to Celtic in The Scottish League in 1907-08 and 1909-10. McTavish signed for Tottenham Hotspur in June 1910 but failed to stake a regular claim in their first team. He made his Football League debut against Preston North End that October and enjoyed a run of 10 matches, scoring 3 goals, between December and February, but lost his place after a defeat in the return match at Preston and played only once more before the end of the season.
Released, he joined Southern League club Brentford in the 1911 close season and scored 7 goals in 40 appearances for The Bees over the next two seasons before returning to Scotland with Third Lanark in 1913. He scored 4 goals in 24 appearances for Thirds during 1913-14 before returning to England to join Midland League club York City for a season, by when the First World War’s onset led to the suspension of peacetime football in England. He had a spell at Raith Rovers in 1915-16 scoring twice in 14 appearances before finishing his football career.
He was the younger brother of Scottish international Jock McTavish, who played with Bob at Falkirk, Tottenham Hotspur and York City and also played for a number of clubs including Oldham Athletic, Newcastle United and Partick Thistle.