Darvel, Ayrshire born right half Bob Ireland began his football career with Darvel Rangers, from where he signed for Glasgow Rangers in 1922. After a loan spell with Scottish League Third Division club Peebles Rovers in 1923 he made his Rangers debut in a 2-0 win over Hamilton Academical in December 1924, but was very much a fringe player at Ibrox for his six seasons with Rangers, making only 20 appearances during that time, enjoying further loan spells with Clyde in 1926 and again with Peebles in 1929 before moving south to join First Division club Liverpool in November that year.
He made his Football League debut and only first team appearance for Liverpool, replacing regular right half Tom Morrison in their 1-1 draw with Grimsby Town at Anfield on Boxing Day 1930. In July 1931 he returned to Scotland with St Johnstone, and after a loan spell with Brechin City in 1933-34 he joined North Eastern League club Workington, where he spent two seasons. He then returned to the Scottish League in 1936, firstly playing for Airdrieonians before a return to St Johnstone later the same year, his last known club before his retirement.