Glasgow born inside right Johnny “Jock” McKay began his football career prior to the First World War with Townhead Benburb in 1914, and was first spotted by Celtic’s scouts while at Glasgow St Anthony’s in 1916. Johnny McKay eventually came to Glasgow Celtic straight from The Royal Scots Fusiliers with whom he served in the First World War, signing in June 1919 and making his Scottish League debut at Queen’s Park in March 1920. He scored six goals in ten games as a Celtic player but despite his obvious talent McKay was allowed to join First Division Blackburn Rovers in November 1921, making his Football League debut against Huddersfield Town the same month. McKay enjoyed a good career at the Ewood Park club where he went on to become a firm crowd favourite and a Scotland international when he was capped against Wales in February 1924 in a 2-0 defeat in Cardiff.
His six seasons in Lancashire saw 49 goals in 161 appearances, and he was part of their 1925 FA Cup semi-final team beaten 3-1 by eventual runners-up Cardiff City at Meadow Lane, with McKay scoring Rovers’ goal. In March 1927 he signed for Middlesbrough and helped them to win the Second Division Championship at the end of the season, however they were immediately relegated. They bounced straight back as Champions once again in 1929 fired by George Camsell’s goalscoring, but McKay didn’t play enough games to win a medal. He played five further seasons at Ayresome Park and by the time he played his last ‘Boro game in May 1934 he’d scored 19 goals in 109 appearances. He briefly joined Bolton Wanderers but failed to break into their first team before heading back north of the border to join Hibernian in 1936, with whom he scored 2 goals in 11 appearances during 1936-37 before he finished his playing career at the end of the season.