East Wemyss, Fife born outside left John “Jock” Macdonald began his football career with local junior clubs Wemyss Harp and Vale of Wemyss before joining Raith Rovers while still a non league club in 1901. When they joined the Scottish League Second Division in 1902, Macdonald made 4 appearances for them in their inaugural season, and scored 14 goals in 53 further appearances for The Rovers over the next five seasons before being signed by Glasgow Rangers in January 1907 for £100 plus the proceeds of a match the same month. He scored 10 goals in 48 appearances for The Gers, playing for Celtic against Rangers in the 1909 Scottish Cup Final when the notorious Hampden Park riot disrupted the replayed as a result the trophy was withheld, before joining First Division Liverpool in May 1909, where he replaced their ageing stalwart Jack Cox.
Macdonald made his Football League debut at Chelsea in September 1909 and his first goal was scored against Blackburn Rovers a week later in a 3-1 win. He missed only four games as Liverpool finished runners up in the League Championship. Macdonald was selected for The Anglo Scots v Scots international trial match but he didn’t make the full Scotland international team. He continued as a regular in The Reds’ line up for a further two seasons, scoring 4 goals in 79 appearances before being sold to Newcastle United for £650 in May 1912. After 4 goals in 35 appearances for The Magpies over the next two seasons, he returned to Scotland to join Dundee in August 1914, and scored once in 13 appearances for The Dark Blues before the onset of the First World War, when he served in The Gordon Highlanders and was gassed during the conflict while in France.
Having survived the War, he re-joined Dundee and played for them in the same eleven as his two brothers before signing once again for Raith Rovers in September 1919, and played 4 times for the club during the remainder of the 1919-20 season, remaining a further season on their books before retiring in 1921.
He was one (the second eldest) of seven brothers all of whom notably served in the Armed Forces in the First World War. In addition to Jock, who was gassed, three of his brothers had been wounded by 1916 and it is believed all survived the conflict. Of his brothers at least two others were professional footballers. David Macdonald was on Liverpool’s books from 1911 to 1913 without making a first team appearance, and subsequently played for Kirkcaldy United, East Fife from 1914, Linfield during wartime football in 1916, and had five years with Dundee between 1919 (becoming the third brother to play for The Dark Blues) and 1924, when he retired. Roy Macdonald, the youngest brother, also played for Kirkcaldy United before joining Dundee in 1913, subsequently joining Tottenham Hotspur in 1920 without making their first eleven. He moved to Bradford Park Avenue in 1921 where he made 29 appearances over the subsequent two seasons.
NB the surname tends to be spelt in a variety of ways. Courtesy of John Macdonald’s family we have seen a postcard written to his youngest brother Roy, with the spelling Macdonald, and hence this is being used for both brothers’ images on site.