Whiteabbey, County Antrim born left winger Jackie Coulter played football for a number of Irish junior and intermediate clubs including Carrickfergus and Brentwood before signing for Belfast Celtic in 1929 from Dunmurry as a 17 year old. At Celtic Park he developed into one of the finest players in the Irish League, usually starring at inside left or on the left wing.and quickly won both praise and several honours in the green and white hoops. His finest performance in the hooped jersey was perhaps in the 1930 City Cup deciding play-off. Slotting in at centre forward, Coulter scored a hat-trick to take the trophy back to Celtic Park. More honours came his way in the shape of the further City Cups, the Belfast Charities Cup and finally in 1933, the Irish League Championship.
He won the first of his Irish international caps in a 2-1 victory against Scotland at Celtic Park, Glasgow in September 1933, maintaining his place for the remainder of that season’s British Championship, and he went on to play for Ireland 11 times over a five year period. He also played twice for The Irish League in 1933.
His signing for Everton in the spring of 1934 did however surprise his Celtic teammates. Having been sent off in a match at Ballymena, Coulter was approached by an Everton official, and terms were agreed on a £2,750 fee. When the Celtic players returned to the dressing room after the final whistle they were greeted by the news of his departure and he made his Football League debut at Goodison Park against Portsmouth on 21st April, scoring 17 goals the following season including a hat-trick in a 6-4 FA Cup 4th round replay win over Sunderland.
Coulter added further caps to his collection whilst with Everton too, scoring the winner in his first international match since his move to England against Scotland at Windsor Park, Belfast in October 1934. The Irish had been forced to play with ten men following an injury to Elisha Scott, but battled on gamely and staged a fighting finish. From a cross from Jimmy Duggan, Coulter tore in from the left to head the ball into the top corner. Four months later he starred in one of Ireland’s best performances of the time against England, only to see his penalty – that would have put the Irish into a 2-1 lead – crash against the crossbar. Cliff Bastin later seized upon an under-hit pass by Irish captain Bertie Fulton to give England a 2-1 victory.
A month later he suffered a broken leg in an international match against Wales following a clash with club mate Ben Williams. In September 1937 he transferred to Grimsby Town after 24 goals in 58 games for The Toffees, playing 27 games and scoring 11 goals in his single season playing for The Mariners before joining Chelmsford City in June 1938. He finished his career with brief spells at Chester making 4 appearances in March 1939, signing for Swansea Town in the 1939 close season where he had made 3 appearances before the suspension of peacetime football due to the Second World War’s outbreak that September, and for Linfield where he appeared as a wartime guest, finally playing again for Chelmsford City in 1945 before retirement.