Airdrie, Lanarkshire born centre half Davie Russell, initially a centre forward, began his football career with junior clubs East Benhar Heatherbell in 1886, Shotts Minors in 1887, Stewarton in 1888 and Broxburn in 1889 before joining Scottish League Heart of Midlothian in 1890, making his competitive Hearts debut in a Scottish Cup tie in October 1890, scoring in a 3-0 victory over Methian Park. After 32 goals in 46 appearances for Hearts, he was signed by First Division Preston North End, making his Football League debut at Notts County in October 1893. He scored a hat-trick three weeks later in a 4-1 victory over Aston Villa and scored 17 goals in 24 appearances as Preston finished runners up in the League Championship and FA Cup semi finalists, where they lost to Everton in a second replay, with Russell their season second top goalscorer behind Frank Becton.
However he didn’t settle in Lancashire and returned to Hearts in the summer of 1894 where he converted to centre half, winning his first two Scotland caps in a 3-1 victory over Ireland at Celtic Park at the end of March 1895, and a week later in a 3-0 defeat to England at Goodison Park. He won the Scottish League Championship in 1894-95 and the League and Scottish Cup double with Hearts in 1895-96, as they beat Edinburgh rivals 3-1 in the Final. After a further 17 goals in 52 appearances for Hearts he joined Celtic in May 1896. One of his greatest performances for Celtic came in a friendly against Arsenal on 15th Feb 1897, as Celtic trailed 4-1, only for Davie to score a hat-trick in a 5-4 fightback victory. He played a pivotal role in Celtic’s Scottish League Championship of 1897-98 and won two further caps for Scotland before rejoining Preston North End in May 1898. He had also played for The Scottish League in a 3-0 victory over The Football League at Ibrox in April 1897.
His second spell at Preston, this time at centre half, saw 3 goals in 29 appearances in a single season before he returned to Celtic in May 1899 and helped the Bhoys lift the 1900 Scottish Cup.as they beat Queen’s Park 4-3 in the Final. He won his final two caps for Scotland in February and March 1901, scoring in an 11-0 thrashing of Ireland at Parkhead in his penultimate international appearance. He was by now Celtic’s club captain and he captained the side when Celtic lost the Scottish Cup Final to Hearts in 1903. He retired soon thereafter having scored 11 times in 84 appearances across his two spells for Celtic.