Ayr born right back John “Jock” McDonald started with junior club Arden Villa in 1901 and then joined Scottish League Ayr in 1902. He cost First Division Blackburn Rovers £90 to secure his services in May 1903, but only he played one League game for them, at Stoke in October 1903, before he joined newly elected Second Division Leeds City in July 1905. He was at right back as City played their first Football League game against Bradford City at Valley Parade on 2nd September 1905 and went on to play the first twelve games before David Murray arrived from Rangers and he had made 31 League and Cup appearances by the end of the season.
He moved to Second Division Grimsby Town in August 1906 and made 16 League appearances at Blundell Park, before leaving to join Queens Park Rangers in 1907. He won Southern League Championship medals in 1908 and 1912 with Rangers and appeared in their Charity Shield sides against Football League Champions Manchester United, where he played alongside Evelyn Lintott, and Blackburn Rovers, his old club, in 1912. He died in 1915, although it is not certain whether this was as a result of the First World War.