Clydebank, Dunbartonshire born left or right winger John Keane began his football career with Clydebank Corinthians in 1930 and joined Yoker Athletic in 1931, from where he signed for Scottish League club Kilmarnock in 1933 and soon established himself as a regular starter in Killie’s forward line. As was commented of him at the time: “This very promising forward crosses a good ball with either foot and possesses a useful shot. As he gains in experience Keane is almost certain to blossom into a first class outside left.”
After being released by them in the 1936 close season he had an unsuccessful trial with Falkirk, but decided to make the long move south to sign for Third Division (South) club Exeter City in September 1936.
Besides one League appearance, all 17 matches that he played for The Grecians were in consecutive matches between October and end December 1936, the first of which was in a 1-1 draw at Aldershot in October 1936. His only League goal for City came in another 1-1 draw, at Watford on 7th November, he scored a further 3 goals in cup ties.
At the end of the 1936-37 season, Keane signed for Gateshead but made only 6 appearances over the following two seasons, and later returned to his first club, Yoker Athletic after an unsuccessful trial with Hartlepools United in the summer of 1939.