Left back James Warden began his senior football career with Dumbarton in the 1924 close season joining them from Renfrew, with his debut coming in a Scottish Second Division match against King’s Park (now Stirling Albion) the same August, Warden quickly establishing himself as The Sons’ first choice left back. He scored 3 goals in 101 Scottish League appearances over the next three seasons, before being bought by Third Lanark in 1927.
At Third Lanark such was his progress that he was picked to play for The Scottish League, playing in a 3-0 defeat to The Irish League at Windsor Park, Belfast in September 1933. The following year he was transferred to Dunfermline Athletic, and helped keep The Pars in the top flight in 1934-35. Described as “a plucky back… in the first flight of left backs…” he stayed at East End Park until 1937, when he joined Alloa Athletic, where he played a single season before retirement.