Scottish Football League
The Scottish Football League was a league featuring professional and semi-professional football clubs mostly from Scotland. From its foundation in 1890 until the breakaway Scottish Premier League was formed in 1998, after 1998, the SFL represented levels 2 to 4 of the Scottish football league system. In June 2013, the SFL merged with the SPL to form the Scottish Professional Football League, the SFL was associated with a title sponsor from the 1985–86 season. As this sponsor has changed over the years the league was known in turn as the Fine Fare League, B&Q League, Bells Scottish Football League, the SFL also organised two knock-out cup competitions, the Scottish League Cup and the Scottish Challenge Cup. Organised football in Scotland began in 1873 with the formation of the Scottish Football Association, during the next 15 years or so, clubs would play friendly matches, Scottish Cup ties and local cup ties. The Football League, initially containing clubs from the North West and this had been done in response to the professionalisation of football in England in 1885, with the regular diet of league fixtures replacing the haphazard arrangement of friendlies. Many Scottish players, known as the Scotch Professors, moved to the English league clubs to receive the high salaries on offer. This prompted Scottish clubs into thinking about forming their own league, in March 1890, the secretary of Renton wrote to thirteen other clubs inviting them to discuss the organisation of a league. All of the clubs accepted the invitation, except Queens Park and these concerns were to prove well-founded, as six of the founder members would leave the league before 1900. The Scottish Football League was inaugurated on 30 April 1890, the first season of competition, 1890–91, commenced with 11 clubs because St Bernards were not elected. The eleven original clubs in membership were Abercorn, Cambuslang, Celtic, Cowlairs, Dumbarton, Heart of Midlothian, Rangers, Renton, St Mirren, Third Lanark and Vale of Leven. Renton were expelled five games of the 1890–91 season for playing against St Bernards. Renton raised an action against the SFA in the Court of Session and won, in the 1890–91 season, Rangers and Dumbarton were level at the top of the league on 29 points. The teams drew 2–2 in a match, but no further thought had been given to separating teams by another method. Goal average was introduced for the 1921–22 season and replaced by goal difference for the 1971–72 season, the league proved to be highly successful, and in 1893 a Second Division was formed by the inclusion of a number of clubs previously in the Scottish Football Alliance. Promotion was initially based on a ballot of clubs, automatic promotion was not introduced until 1922, in 1923, the League decided to introduce a Third Division. The Western Football League was used as its backbone but the new set-up lasted only three years before it collapsed under heavy financial losses, from 1926 until 1946, the League returned to two divisions. Post-World War II reforms saw the League resume with three divisions, postwar seasons saw the divisions renamed A, B and C with the last section also including reserve sides
Partick Thistle F.C.
Kingsley is the official mascot for Scottish Premiership football team Partick Thistle. Kingsley succeeded Jaggy MacBee as the mascot, who was representative of the sponsorship of Scottish beverage company MacB. Following the launch of the Kingsford Capital sponsorship, Kingsley was the subject of mockery on social media. The launch, and subsequent pictures, appeared across the UK media including in The Daily Telegraph, The Times, BBC, Sky Sports, The Herald, The Sun, global coverage included media agencies such as CNN The Washington Post and TIME Magazine. Kingsley is active on Twitter, instagram and Facebook
Greenock Morton F.C.
Greenock Morton Football Club is a Scottish professional football club, which will play in the Scottish Championship in 2016–17. The club was founded as Morton Football Club in 1874, making it one of the oldest senior Scottish clubs, Morton was renamed Greenock Morton in 1994 to celebrate the links with its home town of Greenock. Morton won the Scottish Cup in 1922, and achieved its highest league finish in 1916–17, Morton holds the record for the most promotions to and relegations from the top flight, but has not competed in the top flight of the Scottish football league system since 1988. In 2014–15, Morton won its league title in all divisions by winning the Scottish League One championship on the final day. Morton Football Club was established in 1874, in the early 1870s the popularity of football was growing, with many clubs being established around Scotland. At the clubs inaugural meeting, the first recorded words were that this club be called Morton Football Club. The name would be altered in 1994 to read Greenock Morton Football Club, to celebrate the links with its hometown. Morton was one of the members of the old Second Division, formed in 1893. Morton first gained promotion to the old First Division in 1899–1900, Mortons greatest success came in its 1–0 defeat of Rangers in the 1922 Scottish Cup Final. Jimmy Gourlay scored the goal directly from a free kick in the 11th minute. Right after the match Morton boarded a train for Hartlepool to play the local side in a friendly match. The celebrations were delayed until the following Wednesday when 10,000 locals turned out at Cappielow Park to celebrate, Morton has made two other major cup final appearances. On Saturday 17 April 1948, Morton drew 1–1 with Rangers in the Scottish Cup Final, Mortons goal was a free kick scored by Jimmy White. The match was replayed on Wednesday 21 April and this time Rangers won 1–0 after extra time. The goal was said to be controversial because it was claimed that Morton goalkeeper Jimmy Cowan was blinded by the flash of a camera. These matches were significant because of the crowds they attracted. The first match was played in front of 132,629, the replay, in front of 133,750, was at the time a British record attendance for a midweek match. Mortons third and final major cup final to date was in the League Cup, as in its previous two final appearances, Mortons opponent was once again Glasgow Rangers
Leith Athletic F.C.
Leith Athletic Football Club is a football club based in the Leith area of Edinburgh, Scotland. They are members of the East of Scotland Football League, First team matches are played at Meadowbank 3G, an artificial pitch which is part of the Meadowbank Stadium complex. The present club considers itself to be a continuation of the original Leith Athletic F. C. which was founded in 1887 and they played in the Scottish Football League in four different spells between 1897 and 1953, but went out of business in 1955. The name was revived at local level in 1996. In 2008, Leith Athletic returned to football when they amalgamated with Edinburgh Athletic. Leith Athletic were founded in 1887 in the Port of Leith, in 1891, Leith replaced Glasgow side Cowlairs in the Scottish Football League. After a reasonable start, Leith had to apply for re-election in 1894 and 1895 and they received only three votes in the latter year and were relegated to the Second Division. Leith fared rather better in the flight, finishing second in 1896,1897 and 1899. In 1905, having failed again in the end of 1905 season voting, Leith Athletic were wound up, in 1891, Robert Clements and Mathew McQueen played for Scotland against Ireland in Glasgow, McQueen having played a year earlier against Wales at Underwood Park in Paisley. Geordie Anderson, James Blessington and Robert Laing would represent the Scottish Football League against the Scottish Alliance League, john Blessington was transferred to Celtic in June 1893 for £20, and would gain four caps for Scotland against England and Ireland. Now playing as Leith F. C. the team won the Scottish Second Division championship in 1906. Despite this triumph, they failed to be elected to the First Division, as runners-up Clyde, Leith and Raith Rovers finished level on points and were declared joint champions in 1910. Raith were promoted, but it appears that Leith did not contest the elections, the 1912–13 season saw Leith finish in last position and won re-election to stay in the league. They survived until the competition was suspended in 1915 and they joined the Eastern League, Leith closed down for the duration of the First World War in 1916. When the club was reformed in 1919, the old name of Leith Athletic was revived, after playing for one season in the Scottish Alliance, Leith were admitted to the Third Division in 1924. Leith won the Third Division championship in 1926, but failed to win election to the Second Division, the club were eliminated on the chairman’s casting vote in the third ballot. It was becoming apparent that the two most prominent Edinburgh clubs, Heart of Midlothian and Hibernian were blocking attempts by Leith to progress. The abolition of the Third Division meant that Leith had to rejoin the Scottish Alliance, the clubs fortunes improved and they won the Second Division championship in 1930 and promotion to the First Division
Motherwell Football Club are a Scottish professional football club based in Motherwell, North Lanarkshire. The club compete in the Scottish Premiership, Motherwell have not dropped out of the top-flight of Scottish football since 1985, but have only lifted one trophy in that time – the Scottish Cup in 1991. Clad in their traditional claret and amber, Motherwell play their matches at Fir Park Stadium and have done since 1896. The clubs main rivals over the years have been Hamilton Academical and Airdrieonians and these matches are known as the Lanarkshire derby. Motherwells debut fixture proved to be a one as they overcame Hamilton Academical 3–2. On 5 August 1893 the decision was made to professional. Up until 1895 the club had played at a few different venues, including a site at Roman Road, the small pitch and muddy conditions at Dalziel Park were deemed unsuitable and fortunately Lord Hamilton granted a lease on a plot of land on his Dalzell estate. This new ground was named Fir Park and has remained the home for over one hundred years. The following years saw the club grow, appointing their first and longest serving manager to date, John Sailor Hunter, in 1913 the decision was made to change the clubs colours from blue to the now signature claret and amber. Motherwell enjoyed a period in the aftermath of World War I. The club placed third in the 1919–20 season and, although narrowly avoiding relegation in 1924–25, they climbed the table. In the summer of 1927, the made a very successful tour of Spain, winning six out of the eight games they played. These results included an emphatic 3–1 victory over Real Madrid and a 2–2 draw with Barcelona, following their success in Spain, the club went on another summer tour, this time of South America. After losing only three of their previous ten games, the tour culminated in a 5–0 defeat by a Brazilian League Select side, the championship was sealed on 23 April 1932, when Rangers could only draw at home against Clyde, handing Motherwell the title without kicking a ball. This was also the only League title won by a club outside the Old Firm between 1904 and 1947, in the two seasons following the league title win, Well finished runners up. Motherwell also contested three Scottish Cup finals in this period – in 1931,1933 and 1939, following the break-up of the squad after World War II, the club were not instantly successful. It then captured two trophies in as many years with victories in the 1950 Scottish League Cup Final. The club was relegated for the first time ever at the end of the 1952–53 season
Hamilton Academical F.C.
They were established in 1874 from the school football team at Hamilton Academy and remain the only professional club in British football to have originated from a school team. Hamilton have won the Scottish Challenge Cup twice and have finished runners-up in the Scottish Cup twice, the club currently play their home games at New Douglas Park. Hamilton Academical F. C. was formed in late 1874 by the rector, in the 1970s, Hamilton briefly resigned from the league due to mounting debts. In 1994 the club sold its ground, Douglas Park, to Sainsburys supermarket. During this period the club went through hardships and unpaid players went on strike. As a result, Hamilton was unable to fulfil its fixtures during the 1999–2000 season and was docked 15 points, the club moved into its New Douglas Park stadium in 2001. In 2008, for the first time in 20 years, Accies gained promotion to the top division of Scottish football, in the 2009–10 season, a 3–0 victory against Kilmarnock on 17 April 2010 secured a third straight season in Scotlands top flight, with four games remaining. The Accies stay in the SPL ended in the 2010–11 season, after a hard-fought campaign during the 2013–14 Scottish Championship season, Accies finished in second position on the final day of the season following a 10–2 home victory over Morton. Hamilton lost the first leg 2–0 at New Douglas Park, but two goals in the return leg at Easter Road, including an injury time strike, forced the tie to extra time. Hamilton converted all of their spot-kicks and gained back to the top flight. Neil left the club in January 2015, to take up a position at English club Norwich, the club play their fixtures at New Douglas Park, which was opened in 2001. The pitch is a surface, one of two in the Scottish Premiership alongside Kilmarnock. The stadium has a capacity of 6,018 and is composed of two permanent and one temporary stand. The ground replaced Douglas Park, which was the home of Hamilton from 1888 to 1994, the ground was eventually sold to supermarket chain Sainsburys in 1994, with the proceeds going towards the construction of the new stadium, which lies adjacent to the site of Douglas Park. Between 1994 and 2001 the club had no home and they ground-shared at Cliftonhill and Firhill Stadium. Players may hold more than one non-FIFA nationality, note, Flags indicate national team as defined under FIFA eligibility rules. Players may hold more than one non-FIFA nationality, note, Flags indicate national team as defined under FIFA eligibility rules. Players may hold more than one non-FIFA nationality, the following is a list of the officially-appointed captains of the Hamilton Academical first-team
Ayr Football Club was a Scottish Football League club from Ayr, Scotland. They were formed in 1879 by a merger of the Ayr Thistle and their initial home ground was Springvale Park, which they left in 1884 to play home fixtures at Beresford Park, which they in turn left in 1888 to move to Somerset Park. Ayr won their first ever game at Somerset Park 3–0 against Aston Villa, Ayr had spent 13 seasons in the Scottish Football League Division Two, with a best finish of third place which they managed on three occasions. They never managed to win promotion above this level, Ayr F. C. merged with fellow league members Ayr Parkhouse in 1910 to form Ayr United. This is the first and oldest example in Scottish football of a merger between two clubs from the same town until the Inverness thistle/Caledonian merger in 1994. The merger came about because it was felt that a club would have better prospects of playing in Division One. Ayr United achieved that status three years after the merger
Airdrieonians F.C. (1878)
Airdrieonians Football Club, more commonly known as Airdrie, were a Scottish professional football team from the town of Airdrie, in the Monklands area of Lanarkshire. During their 124-year existence the Diamonds, as they were nicknamed, the club also competed in four separate Scottish Cup finals, winning the competition in 1924. Airdrieonians were the first club in the Scottish League to fold since 1967, the team was founded in Airdrie, North Lanarkshire in 1878 as Excelsior Football Club, changing its name to Airdrieonians in 1881. It was elected to the Scottish Football League in 1894, the club enjoyed its most successful era in the 1920s, following the signing of Hughie Gallacher from Queen of the South in 1921. Airdrie challenged the dominance of Rangers, as finished in second place in the Scottish League championship four years in a row between 1923 and 1926 and won the Scottish Cup in 1924. Following this victory, in early summer 1925, the club visited Norway and Sweden, translations of local newspaper reports, and some photographs of the tour, are still available. This successful era came to an end after Gallacher and Bob McPhail were sold to Newcastle United, Airdrie spent much of the post war era yo-yoing between the top flight and Second Division. Airdrie entered the first Texaco Cup competition in 1970–71, defeating Nottingham Forest in the first round and that tie was decided by a penalty shootout and Airdrie became the first Scottish club to be involved in that method of deciding a contest. Airdrie reached the Texaco Cup Final in 1972, losing 2–1 on aggregate to Derby County and they also reached the 1975 Scottish Cup Final, losing 3–1 to Celtic. After the leagues were restructured in 1975, a called the Spring Cup was instituted for the teams in the lower divisions. Airdrie won this competition in 1976, but it was discontinued after one season as clubs preferred to play league games instead. MacDonald also guided the Diamonds to two Scottish Cup Finals, the first appearance coming on 9 May 1992 when the club faced Rangers in front of 44,045 strong crowd at Hampden Park. Unfortunately for Airdrie on this however, a goal each from Mark Hateley. Although Airdrie lost in the 1992 Scottish Cup Final they had qualified for the 1992–93 European Cup Winners Cup. Airdrie were drawn against Czech side Sparta Prague in the first round, Airdrie lost 1–0 at Broomfield and 2–1 in Prague, losing 3–1 on aggregate. Kenny Black, who went on to become manager of Airdrie United, scored the only Airdrie goal. Airdrie also reached the 1995 Scottish Cup Final, where they faced the other half of the Old Firm, Airdrie would once again fall at the final hurdle, as they lost 1–0 to a Pierre van Hooijdonk goal. Airdrie also won the Scottish Challenge Cup in 1994–95, Airdrie sold their Broomfield home to Safeway in 1994, but had to groundshare with Clyde at Broadwood Stadium for four years until the Excelsior Stadium was opened
East Stirlingshire F.C.
East Stirlingshire Football Club is a Scottish association football club based in the town of Falkirk. The club was founded in 1881 and competes in the Lowland Football League, the clubs origins can be traced to 1880 when a local cricket club formed a football team under the name Britannia, based in the village of Bainsford. The club was elected to the Scottish Football League in 1900–01 and has competed in the system for most of its existence. East Stirlingshire has won the tier of Scottish football once and finished runners-up once. The clubs highest league ranking came during the two seasons it competed in the top flight in 1932–33 and 1963–64. In 2016, East Stirlingshire became the first club ever to be relegated out of the league system. East Stirlingshire first entered in the Scottish Cup in 1882, its best result reaching the quarter-finals on three occasions, the last in 1981. The clubs best result in a cup competition was in the 2000–01 season when it reached the semi-finals of the Scottish Challenge Cup. In 2008, the club left Firs Park and moved to Ochilview Park to ground-share with local rivals Stenhousemuir, the clubs nickname is The Shire, which refers to the Stirlingshire part of the club name. In December 1883, the Stirlingshire Football Association was founded, with open to clubs exclusively from the county of Stirlingshire. It resulted in the establishment of a new tournament called the Stirlingshire Cup. East Stirlingshire dominated the tournament in its years, winning it for a record four years in a row between 1885 and 1889, including an emphatic 9–0 victory against Falkirk in the 1888 final. Two goals came from Lawrence McLachlan who was an influential goalscorer in the early successes. The latter years of the 19th century was East Stirlingshires most successful era in the Scottish Cup, in the 1888–89 and 1890–91 tournaments, the club reached the quarter-finals in what was to be the last time for 91 years, losing to Celtic and Hearts respectively. It was during this period that four East Stirlingshire players earned caps for their countries. The first was the Wales national team captain, Humphrey Jones, Three other players, David Alexander, Archibald Ritchie, and James McKie made appearances for the Scotland national team from 1891 to 1898. In March 1905, a proposal was raised for the club to merge with neighbours Falkirk with an aim to creating a bigger and more financially stable club, however, East Stirlingshires vote was not in favour and the club rejected the proposal. The club remained in Division Two until 1914–15 when it, at the end of World War I, the club was re-elected to the old Division Two which was re-established in the 1921–22 season
Scottish football league system
The Scottish football league system is a series of generally unconnected leagues for Scottish football clubs. In senior football in Scotland there is one league, the Scottish Professional Football League. There are also regional leagues. From 2014–15, regular promotion or relegation between the two leagues and the SPFL national league was introduced for the first time. Rangers are the current record holders with 54 titles, one senior club based in England plays in the Scottish system in the Scottish League Two. A small number of English amateur clubs in the lowest levels of the game, based on or around the Anglo-Scottish border, also compete in the Scottish system for geographical, as of 2014–15 there were a total of 925 teams playing in the Saturday regular season structure. Overall, the structure of football in Scotland is among the most fractured and multi-faceted in Europe. It is not uncommon for a town or county to have clubs in as many as three or four separate systems. The current system has been in place since 2013–14, when the Scottish Professional Football League was formed by a merger of the Scottish Premier League, at the same time, the Lowland Football League was founded. It is based in the north of Scotland, including a club from the island of Orkney, the leagues below level four are classed as non-league football, meaning they are outside the Scottish Professional Football League and are played on a regional not a national basis. The Lowland League is parallel to the Highland League, below the Lowland League is the East of Scotland Football League and the South of Scotland Football League - with promotion and relegation into the Lowland League. As of 2016–17 this totals 109 teams across nine divisions, up to two non-SFA members can qualify for the Scottish Cup each season by winning the East or South leagues. There are a variety of cup tournaments, sometimes involving reserve teams fielded by the SPFL clubs, as of 2014–15 this represented a total of 161 teams across 12 divisions. These clubs operate separately from the Scottish Football Association, except Girvan and they participate in a number of their own cup competitions, as well as the Scottish Junior Cup. The term junior refers not to the age of the players, up to four non-SFA members can qualify for the Scottish Cup each season by winning the Superleagues or the Junior Cup. Banks O Dee also enter Senior tournaments the Aberdeenshire Cup and Shield, prestige centres around the historic Scottish Amateur Cup. For historical reasons Glasgow University are a member of both the SFA and the SAFA and enter the Scottish Cup and South Challenge Cup, a number of Senior and Junior clubs run reserve teams in Amateur football. As of 2014–15 there were 649 teams – in 16 geographic leagues containing a total of 58 divisions – playing Saturday football under a regular August–May season