Edinburgh born inside right Jimmy Dawson began his football career with Edinburgh Emmett and played for Musselburgh before joining Scottish League club Leith Athletic in 1910, scoring twice in 14 appearances before he was signed by First Division club Liverpool in December 1912, making his Football League debut at Manchester United in November 1913. He featured in Liverpool’s first FA Cup tie, a 1-1 draw against Barnsley at Anfield in January 1914, that culminated in their reaching the FA Cup Final for the first time in the club’s history, where they were beaten by Burnley at The Crystal Palace, but Dawson didn’t feature again in the Cup run, scoring 3 goals in 14 appearances during the season although he remained consigned to the reserves during Liverpool’s 1914-15 campaign before peacetime football was suspended due to the onset of the First World War in May 1915.
One press report noted that the inside right was “artistic but needed to infuse more devil into his work at close quarters.” There was certainly a devil present when Dawson got sent off along with Stoke’s Joe Jones in a wartime match on 18th September 1915. The pair collided and “angry words ensued.” They squared up to each other but no blows were struck. The referee was going to overlook their differences but the players wouldn’t let go of the matter so he had no alternative than to dismiss them. Dawson was suspended for two weeks by the Football Association. He scored twice in 11 wartime matches for Liverpool before joining Scottish League club Heart of Midlothian in December 1917, where he scored 8 goals in 26 appearances for The Jambos over the next year.
He was sold to Dumbarton in January 1919 where he made 6 appearances for The Sons and this move triggered an itinerant journey through Scottish football, with a move to St Bernard’s that July followed by him signing for Albion Rovers in January 1921, where he scored once in 10 matches. In August 1921 he joined Alloa Athletic but he hadn’t completed a season with The Wasps playing 10 games for them before he moved to Clackmannan in April 1922. The same October he was signed by St Mirren, but his spell at Love Street was brief and featured just a single appearance for The Buddies, Dawson joining Bo’ness in January 1923, playing in 5 matches. He then returned to Leith Athletic in July 1923, his final known club before his eventual retirement.