Dalry, Ayrshire born inside forward John Jackson started with junior club Ardeer Thistle in 1907 before joining Clyde in August 1908. He first joined Glasgow Celtic on loan in 1909 but didn’t make a first team appearance. Returning to Clyde he played for them in the 1910 Scottish Cup Final against Dundee, which took two replays before Dundee won 2-1. He again played in the 1912 Scottish Cup Final but Clyde were beaten 2-0 by Celtic. Such was his progress at Clyde that he represented The Scottish League in November 1912.
In December 1913 he joined Second Division Leeds City, making his Football League debut at Birmingham the same month, and scoring 12 goals in 58 appearances for City before the intervention of World War One. During the War he guested for Ayr United in December 1915, played again for Clyde in 1916 and in May 1917 joined Rangers without making their first team, and returned to Celtic in September 1917, for whom he scored twice in 27 appearances before leaving in May 1918 to serve with the Royal Scots Fusiliers. He was loaned to Clydebank in January 1919 and moved briefly to Motherwell in October 1919 before joining Dundee December the same year, which would prove his final professional club besides a brief spell on loan with Stevenston United in 1920.