Born in Falkirk, inside right Archie Macaulay started his playing career in junior football with Comely Park in 1931, Lauriston Villa in 1932 and Camelon Juniors in 1933 before signing for Rangers, making his Scottish League debut at Ayr United in September 1933, where he became a regular at the age of only 18. Playing his early career as an inside right, he won a Scottish League Championship medal in 1936-37 and scored 8 goals in 41 appearances for Rangers.
In June 1937 he was transferred to Second Division West Ham United for £6,000 and made his Football League debut at Aston Villa the same September, immediately establishing himself as a Hammers regular. The advent of the Second World War substantially interrupted his career but he still won a Wartime Cup medal in 1940 and played five unofficial wartime matches for Scotland. At the end of the conflict Macaulay returned to West Ham and played in the 1946 FA Cup and some League matches at the start of 1946-47, but he was soon signed by First Division Brentford in October 1946 after 31 goals in 93 appearances. He made his official Scotland debut against England at Wembley Stadium on 12th April 1947. By this time he had been converted to a wing half, however Brentford were relegated to the Second Divisionat the end of the season. Macaulay was then also selected to play for Great Britain in a one-off match in May 1947.
He was signed by Arsenal in July 1947 for £10,000. Macaulay made his Arsenal debut against Sunderland on 23rd August 1947 and in his first season with The Gunners, he played 40 League matches and won a League Championship medal. He continued to play for Arsenal as a near ever-present for the next two seasons, although he missed out on Arsenal’s 1950 FA Cup triumph after manager Tom Whittaker preferred fellow Scot Alex Forbes in the Final. Macaulay left Arsenal for Fulham in June 1950 having made 108 appearances in three seasons, scoring once. He also won six more caps for Scotland while at Arsenal through to May 1948, bringing his total tally to seven. He spent three seasons at Fulham, though he could not save them from relegation to Division Two in 1951-52. He moved to Guildford City after that, to become the club’s player-manager after 4 goals in 53 appearances for The Cottagers.
In April 1957 he succeeded Tom Parker as manager of Norwich City, where he led the Third Division side to the FA Cup semi-finals in 1959 in one of the most famous FA Cup runs of all time, and promotion to the Second Division the following year as Third Division runners up. In October 1961 he moved on to manage First Division West Bromwich Albion, though the Baggies did little under his two-year reign, instead enjoying mid-table obscurity. Macaulay finished his managerial career at Brighton & Hove Albion between April 1963 and October 1968, leading the club to promotion as Fourth Division Champions in 1965. After Brighton he left football management completely.