Glasgow born inside left Johnny Halligan began his football career with Shawfield Juniors and signed for Scottish League club Hibernian in October 1920, making his Scottish League debut the following month against Albion Rovers in a 5-2 win, scoring his first goal for Hibs two weeks later in a 2-0 win over Dundee. He joined the club around the same time as two other emerging forwards from the same era, Jimmy Dunn and John Walker, and all three became important members of the team which played in two losing Scottish Cup Finals in 1923 (lost 1-0 to Celtic) and 1924 (lost 2-0 to Airdrieonians).
Halligan also remained with the club when they were relegated in 1931 and helped them regain their top division place two years later, winning the 1932-33 Scottish Division Two title. He was a regular in the team across 14 seasons until his last game, at home to Falkirk on 14th October 1933, after which he was advised to retire on medical grounds. In all he played 457 times for Hibs in major competitions and scored 74 goals.
Halligan also worked for Hibernian as a coach and scout (from 1933), and in February 1936 was appointed caretaker manager of Hibernian after the resignation of Bobby Templeton; he held the position for over two months until Willie McCartney became manager. He made a brief playing comeback for Montrose in the 1937-38 season before his retirement from the game.