Irvine began his career with Falkirk in 1983. After two years and nearly forty league appearances for the Bairns - where he played alongside his brother - Irvine moved to Aberdeen. During his twelve years with the Dons, Irvine won the Scottish Cup and was capped nine times by Scotland but was also diagnosed in June 1995 with multiple sclerosis. Despite his diagnosis, Irvine returned to action as a substitute just four months later. After playing over 300 league matches, Irvine left Pittodrie in 1997 and moved to Dundee, featuring nearly seventy times in two years. In 1999, Irvine moved to Ross County, where he finished his playing career in 2003.
After retiring, Irvine stayed with County as a coach, taking his first managerial job in January 2006 with Elgin City. In December that year, with the club bottom of the table, Irvine left the club. He is now a youth inclusive worker and makes regular appearances with his friend Drew at the Inverness Royal Academy and on Friday nights at the Hilton community centre.