Lugar, Ayrshire born winger Sammy Thomson began his football career with Lugar Boswell in 1882 before joining Glasgow Rangers in 1883. He made his senior debut for Rangers in a Scottish Cup tie at Third Lanark in October 1884 in a match drawn 2-2, and represented Scotland twice the same year, making his international debut in January 1884 in a 5-0 victory over Ireland at Ballynafeigh Park, Belfast, winning a second cap two months later in a 4-1 victory over Wales at Cathkin Park.
In 1888 he then became one of the many Scottish-born footballers who joined Preston North End as the Lancashire club assembled a side that stormed to the first League Championship undefeated, being nicknamed “The Invincibles”. Thomson made his League debut on 15th September 1888 at Dudley Road, the then home of Wolverhampton Wanderers in a 4-0 victory. Thomson scored his first goal, playing as a winger, on 12th November 1888, at The Victoria Ground, Stoke, in a 3-0 win. Thomson appeared in 16 of the 22 League matches played by Preston North End during the 1888-89 season and scored three goals. It was Thomson’s performances in the club’s run to the 1889 FA Cup Final that endeared him to Preston fans. Thomson earned himself a Winners medal as Preston North End beat Wolverhampton Wanderers 3-0 in the Final, Thomson scoring the last of the three goals.
He was an important member of the side that retained the League Championship in 1889-90 but in the close season, after 14 goals in 42 appearances, he was persuaded to join Wolverhampton Wanderers without the Deepdale club’s permission. The incident went before the Committee and Wolves were fined £50 for their misconduct. Having joined Wolverhampton Wanderers, he scored nine goals in 24 League and FA Cup matches as they finished 4th in the League and he then moved to Everton in the summer of 1891. After a single goal, against former club Preston, in 3 appearances for Everton he joined Accrington in October 1891 where he ended his playing days at the end of the 1891-92 season having scored 6 goals in 22 appearances for the Lancashire club.