Liverpool born outside right Bruce Rankin began his football career with White Star Wanderers and played for Kirkdale in 1899 and also as a trialist for Tranmere Rovers in 1900 before signing for First Division hometown club Everton, making his Football League debut at Sheffield United in February 1902. Rankin made more than a dozen appearances during their 1902-03 campaign but was largely a fringe player during his five seasons at Goodison Park, his best season coming in 1904-05 when he played 16 matches as Everton finished runners up in the League Championship.
After 7 goals in 38 appearances for The Toffees he joined Second Division club West Bromwich Albion in February 1906, where he scored 6 goals in 31 appearances for The Baggies during a year at The Hawthorns before being signed by First Division Manchester City in February 1907. However he made only two appearances the same month for The Citizens and transferred to Southern League club Luton Town in the summer of 1907. After a single campaign for The Hatters he played for non league club Egremont Social before a move to Combination club Wrexham in 1909, his final known club before his retirement.