Jimmy Dougal was born in Denny, Scotland, on 3rd October 1913. Dougal played for Kilsyth Rangers before joining Falkirk in 1932. He played in the Scottish League for two years before joining Preston North End midway through the 1933-34 season.
A tricky outside-right, Dougal was known as the "Galloping Ghost". He helped Preston gain promotion to the First Division of the Football League in his first season. The following year he was switched to inside forward and Preston finished in 11th place in the league. At the end of the season Preston persuaded the Scottish international, Tom Smith, to join the club. Other signings that year included the brothers, Hugh O'Donnell and Francis O'Donnell from Celtic.
In the 1935-36 season, Preston finished 7th in the league. Jimmy Maxwell was top scorer with 17 goals. New signing, Hugh O'Donnell, added 15 more. Preston had a disappointing league campaign in 1936-37 only finishing in 14th place.
At the beginning of the next season, Preston made two important signings. In September, 1937, Preston purchased the high scoring George Mutch, from Manchester United for £5,000. The following month, Robert Beattie a skillful inside forward, arrived from Kilmarnock for a fee of £2,500. They joined fellow Scotsmen, Jimmy Dougal, Andrew Beattie, Jimmy Maxwell, Tom Smith, Hugh O'Donnell, Francis O'Donnell, Andrew McLaren and Bill Shankly at the club.
James Dougal was in the first-team for most of the 1937-38 season. The Scottish dominated Preston side finished 3rd in the First Division of the Football League with 49 points. Only Arsenal (52) and Wolverhampton Wanderers (51) obtained more points. Dougal scored 14 goals, four behind top scorer George Mutch.
Preston North End also had a successful run in the 1937-38 FA Cup. Preston beat West Ham United in the 3rd round with George Mutch scored a hat trick. Mutch also scored goals in the 4th round against Leicester City and in the semi-final when Preston beat Aston Villa 2-1. Dougal was injured in this game and did not play in Preston's win over Huddersfield Town in the final.
Dougal was the club's leading scorer with 19 goals in the 1938-39 season. He also won his first international cap when he represented Scotland against England in April 1939. Dougal scored in the 1-1 draw. His international career was brought to an end by the outbreak of the Second World War. The government imposed a fifty mile travelling limit and the Football League divided all the clubs into seven regional areas where games could take place.
In the 1940-1941 season Preston North End needed to win their last game against Liverpool to win the North Regional League title. The nineteen year old Andrew McLaren scored all six goals in the 6-1 victory.
Preston North End also took part in the 1941 Football League War Cup. Youngster Andrew McLaren scored five of the goals in Preston's 12-1 victory over Tranmere. He also scored a hat-trick in the fourth-round tie against Manchester City. Preston reached the final by beating Newcastle United 2-0. The Preston team that faced Arsenal at Wembley on 31st May was: Jack Fairbrother, Frank Gallimore, William Scott, Bill Shankly, Tom Smith, Andrew Beattie, Tom Finney, Andrew McLaren, Jimmy Dougal, Robert Beattie and Hugh O'Donnell.
The game took place in front of a 60,000 crowd. Arsenal was awarded a penalty after only three minutes but Leslie Compton hit the foot of the post with the spot kick. Soon afterwards Andrew McLaren scored from a pass from Tom Finney. Preston dominated the rest of the match but Dennis Compton managed to get the equaliser just before the end of full-time.
The replay took place at Ewood Park, the ground of Blackburn Rovers. The first goal was as a result of a move that included Tom Finney and Jimmy Dougal before Robert Beattie put the ball in the net. Frank Gallimore put through his own goal but from the next attack, Beattie scored again. It was the final goal of the game and Preston ended up the winners of the cup.
Dougal continued to play for Preston North End during the Second World War. All told he scored 96 goals in 154 appearances. By the end of the war he was 33 years old and past his best. He only played a few games in the 1946-47 season for Preston before joining Carlisle United. He also played for Halifax Town before retiring from football in 1949.
Jimmy Dougal died on 17th October, 1999.