Port Glasgow born winger Jimmy Nicholl began his football career with Morningside Rangers in 1906 and played for Cambuslang Rangers in 1907 before joining Scottish League Airdrieonians in 1908. He joined First Division Middlesbrough in July 1910 and made his Football League debut against Everton the same September, scoring 8 goals in his 26 game debut season, but he spent much of the next three seasons on the fringes of the first team before he was signed by Liverpool in January 1914 after 13 goals in 56 appearances for ‘Boro. Liverpool manager Tom Watson said that Nicholl “isn’t a brilliant forward, but he’s a useful one and he can shoot!”
He played in five FA Cup ties in Liverpool’s run to the FA Cup Final in 1914 and was the star in their 2-0 FA Cup semi final victory over Aston Villa at White Hart Lane After half an hour’s play he headed the ball into the net past former Liverpool goalkeeper Sam Hardy. In the second half Arthur Metcalf struck a powerful shot that thundered off Hardy’s bar with Nicholl pouncing upon the rebound to net the second. He also played in the FA Cup Final where they were beaten 1-0 by Burnley at The Crystal Palace, and scored 9 goals missing only four games in the final season before peacetime football was suspended due to the onset of the First World War.
After 14 goals in 59 appearances for The Reds, Nicholl returned to Scotland and joined Wishaw Thistle in 1915, joining Hamilton Academical in 1916 before retiring from the game.