Longtown, Cumbria born goalkeeper Tom McDonald began his football career in Scotland with junior clubs High Blantyre Athletic in 1903, Bellshill Athletic in 1904 and Blantyre Victoria in 1905 before he joined Scottish League Motherwell in 1906. He made his first foray into English football with Southern League Portsmouth in 1908 but stayed only a single season at Fratton Park before returning to Motherwell in 1909. In 1910 he joined North Eastern League Carlisle United from where he signed for First Division Bury in June 1911, making his Football League debut against Sheffield Wednesday the same September. He was Bury’s regular goalkeeper for 4 seasons until peacetime football was suspended due to the outbreak of the First World War, making 153 appearances for The Shakers. After the War he joined Tranmere Rovers in 1919, and played for Rochdale in 1920, but finished his career before they became a Football League club.