Dundee born inside right David Dougal began his football career with Dundee Harp in August 1902 before joining Dundee in 1903. He had trials with Preston North End and Grimsby Town during 1904-05 and eventually signed with Clapton Orient in August 1905, making his debut in an FA Cup tie at Felstead that October. By the following season he had become a regular in the Orient first team but he joined Southern League Reading in the 1907 close season after 6 goals in 55 appearances.
His sojourn at Elm Park was brief and he soon transferred to Brighton & Hove Albion in February 1908, and when Seagulls manager Frank Scott-Walford took over at Leeds City towards the end of the season, Dougal was one of a number of Albion players to follow him to Elland Road in the summer of 1908. He had two seasons at Elland Road, scoring once in 25 appearances, before returning to Scotland to join Montrose in November 1910.