James Tennant was born in Kilwinning, Ayrshire, Scotland, in 1907. Jimmy emigrated with his family to Canada in 1916 and settled in Hamilton, Ontario. He learned his soccer in the public schools system in Hamilton and with the Hamilton Thistle youth team. He progressed to the Thistle first team and played in the National Soccer League. He helped the Thistles win the Ontario Cup in 1930 as they defeated Toronto Scottish by a two-game total-goals score of 4-3. Jimmy scored two of Thistle’s goals in the finals. He also won the Hamilton Spectator Cup in 1930 and 1931 with Hamilton Thistle.
In 1932 Jimmy moved to Northern Ontario where he joined the Dome Mines Football Club. He helped Dome Mines reach the Foster Cup final. In November 1932 he accepted an offer of a trial with Cardiff City. Winners of the F.A. Cup in 1927, the Welsh club were members of the Football League Third Division South in the 1932-1933 season.
Jimmy left Hamilton on December 7 and sailed from St. John’s, Halifax, on the same day. He arrived in Southampton on December 16 and went straight to Cardiff. After a month’s trial Jimmy was let go by Cardiff City and not offered a contract. His next stop was rumored to be Manchester Central in the Lancashire League. Instead he returned to his birthplace Kilwinning in Scotland and joined Kilwinning Rangers. In May 1933 there was rumors that two Scottish First Division clubs were interested in his services, these included Motherwell. On May 23, 1933, Jimmy was transferred from Kilwinning Rangers to Perth club St. Johnstone. The transfer fee was said to be £65.
The 5-8 right winger started the 1933-1934 season so brightly that the selectors of the Scottish National Team was taking an interest in his performances. St. Johnstone finished the season in ninth place in the final standings of the twenty-team Scottish First Division. The following season they finished in fifth place. Jimmy spent the summer of 1935 at home in Hamilton, Ontario. While in Canada he watched the Scottish National Team play exhibition games in Hamilton and Toronto.
Jimmy appeared in 187 games and scored 34 goals for St. Johnstone from he joined the club in 1933 until he left the Saints in 1940.
In 1939 Jimmy moved to Monifieth where he worked in a factory and played for the local football club. He also had a short spell with Dundee United in 1940. Later during World War II he played for the United Juniors team in Dundee. He later became a soccer coach.
James returned to Canada in 1957. He passed away on May 16, 1960 in Canada. His son Billy Tennant had a great career in the Eastern Professional Soccer League from 1962 until 1964 as a forward with the Hamilton Steelers.