Motherwell, Lanarkshire born left back Jimmy Watson began his football career with Burnbank Athletic in 1895, before joining Scottish League Clyde in 1897. After an unsuccessful trial with Sheffield United he joined Sunderland in 1899, making his Football League debut against Glossop in February 1900. He became a regular member of Sunderland’s first team from September 1900, playing 33 times during their 1900-01 campaign when Sunderland finished as runners up in the League Championship, and then 35 matches in their 1901-02 League Championship winning campaign. He also played in their 3-0 victory over The Corinthians in the Sheriff of London Charity Shield at White Hart Lane in February 1903. He possessed the intriguing nickname of “Daddy Long Legs” due to his arms and legs moving excessively when he ran.
Watson’s first Scotland cap was awarded on in a 1-0 victory over Wales at The Cardiff Arms Park 9th March 1903. In the next match, against England at Bramall Lane on 4th April, Watson was teamed in defence with his Sunderland colleagues, goalkeeper Ned Doig and Andrew McCombie, the match resulting in a Scottish victory by 2 goals to 1. He went on to play against England in each of the next two years, both matches won 1-0 by England. He continued as a regular member of Sunderland’s first team for another five seasons, before being signed by Middlesbrough in April 1907 after 227 appearances for The Wearsiders.
At Middlesbrough he continued to be an influential player and was an ever present in 1907-08 as ‘Boro finished sixth in the League Championship. He was recalled to the Scotland team in March 1909 for a 5-0 victory over Ireland at Ibrox, winning his sixth and final cap the following month in a 2-0 defeat to England at The Crystal Palace. He played his last match for ‘Boro in April 1910 having made 108 appearances for them, and joined Shildon Athletic in 1911, where he finished his career.