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
St Johnstone F.C.
St Johnstone Football Club is a professional football club based in Perth, Scotland. Although it is recorded as being formed in 1884, the club did not play its first game until February 1885. The clubs home since 1989 has been McDiarmid Park, the clubs first Scottish Cup appearance was in 1886–87 and they joined the Scottish Football League in 1911–12. St Johnstone won the Scottish Football League First Division, the tier of league football in Scotland. This gained them promotion to the Scottish Premier League, bringing a return of SPL football to McDiarmid Park for the 2009–10 campaign, the club have historically floated between the top two divisions of Scottish football, obtaining the reputation of being a yo-yo club. Their traditional rivals are the two Dundee clubs, Dundee and Dundee United, with matches between St Johnstone and either Dundee club being called Tayside derbies, the club has had limited success in cup competitions. After losing at the stage on numerous occasions, the club won their first Scottish Cup in 2014 with a 2–0 win against Dundee United. It has reached two Scottish League Cup Finals, losing them to each of the Old Firm clubs. They have also won the Scottish Second Tier seven times, the Scottish Challenge Cup in 2007, the B Division Supplementary Cup in 1949 and they have qualified for European competitions on six occasions. Their highest league position in the top division was third place on three occasions,1971,1999 and 2013, the club was formed by members of the local cricket team seeking to occupy their time once the cricket season had finished. The cricketers were kicking a football around the South Inch, a public park beside the River Tay during the autumn of 1884. Club members leased a piece of land adjacent to the South Inch, known as the Recreation Grounds, in the 1910–11 Scottish Division Two season, Port Glasgow Athletic F. C. finished next to bottom and declined to apply for re-election. They were replaced for the 1911–12 Scottish Division Two season by St Johnstone, St Johnstone were promoted to the old First Division in 1924–25, by winning the Second Division title, and appointed David Taylor as team manager. They remained in the top flight until 1929–30 when they finished bottom of Division One, Two years later, under new manager Tommy Muirhead, the Saints were runners-up in Division Two to gain their second promotion. They performed well in Division One through the 1930s, reaching the semi-finals of the Scottish Cup in 1933–34, in the final season before World War II, St Johnstone played well under manager David Rutherford to finish eighth. The Scottish Football League suspended competition for the duration of the war, St Johnstone were closed for most of the war and lost their top flight status as a result. The Southern Football League continued through the post-war 1945–46 season but with two divisions to incorporate clubs that were restarting, including St Johnstone, the Saints played in the 1945–46 B Division and finished sixth of fourteen clubs. St Johnstone had lost all the ground gained in the 1930s, jimmy Crapnell became the team manager for the 1947–48 season and was succeeded by Johnny Pattillo for 1953–54
Cowdenbeath Football Club are a Scottish semi-professional football team based in Cowdenbeath, Fife. They are members of the Scottish Professional Football League and compete in League Two, formed in 1881, the club has played at Central Park since 1917. They first joined the Scottish Football League in 1905, the club has never won any of the major honours in Scottish football, but have won lower tier divisional titles on five occasions. They competed in the top division of the SFL from 1924 to 1934, Cowdenbeath traditionally date their origin to the merger of two local clubs, Cowdenbeath Rangers and Cowdenbeath Thistle, which occurred in 1881. The establishment of one club to represent the town coincided with the establishment of the Fifeshire Football Association that year. Cowdenbeath, who are the oldest surviving club in Fife, lost in the inaugural Fife Cup final in 1883. In 1888 the club moved to North End Park, and in 1905 were admitted to Division Two of the Scottish Football League and they won Division Two in 1913–14 and 1914–15, but were not promoted to Division One on either occasion. The SFL was suspended due to World War I in 1915, and they were placed in Division Two when it was reformed in 1921, and after finishing as runners-up in 1923–24, the club were promoted to Division One for the first time. The club remained in Division One until being relegated at the end of the 1933–34 season and this feat was in no small part aided by Rab Walls 54 League goals – the second highest seasonal total in Scottish League history. However, the outbreak of World War II cut short Cowdens return to Division One, when peacetime football resumed in 1946, the club were controversially placed in the new B Division. While a 1949 League Cup success over Rangers at Ibrox was a highlight of the early post-war period, Cowden struggled to return to the elite level of Scottish football. This was finally achieved under popular manager Andy Matthew in the 1969–70 season, a more professional approach was ushered in with the appointment of former Scotland defender Craig Levein, who had begun his playing career with Cowdenbeath, as manager in 1997. Promotion from the Third Division was achieved in the 2000–01 season, after a third-place finish in the 2004–05 season. The 2005–06 campaign saw the team achieve their first divisional title win for 67 years with player-manager Mixu Paatelainen when they won the Third Division, season 2008–09 saw Danny Lennons side miss out on promotion in a penalty shoot-out after a scoreless two-legged match and extra time against Stenhousemuir. However, they were promoted to the division for the 2009–10 season as Livingston were demoted to the Scottish Third Division after breaching the leagues rules on insolvency. After a tough start to life in the Scottish Second Division, Cowden soon found their feet, amazingly they went on to defeat Alloa and Brechin in the play-offs to secure promotion. Prior to the 2010–11 season Jimmy Nicholl was appointed new manager and it was a massive blow to the club especially after being 2–0 up at half time in the first leg in Brechin. Under new manager Colin Cameron, Cowdenbeath immediately regained promotion the following season, the season after, they ensured survival on the final matchday with a 3–1 away win over Hamilton Academical
Vale of Leven F.C.
Vale of Leven Football Club are an association club based in the town of Alexandria, Scotland, in the Vale of Leven area of West Dunbartonshire. Nicknamed the Vale and formed in 1939, they play at Millburn Park and they play in the Scottish Junior Football Association, West Region, and wear blue and white strips. In the early days of Scottish football, Vale of Leven, Vale won the Scottish Cup three times in succession. In 1878 they travelled down to England and beat the FA Cup winners, The Wanderers, the Wanderers had the advantage that the game was played under the English throw-in rule, but the Vales Scottish passing game proved superior to the English game of individual dribbling. The club also won the Celtic Society Cup in shinty in 1879, Vale of Leven was a founder member of the Scottish Football League when it was formed in 1890. By this time, the club was being eclipsed by the stars from Glasgow. In their second season failed to win a single game. Rather than face re-election for the time, the club withdrew. Between 1893 and 1902 the Vale played only friendly matches and in cup competition before joining the Scottish Football Combination, in 1905 they applied successfully for readmission to the Scottish League when the Second Division was extended with two additional places. They finished as runners-up in 1907 and in 1909 but did not receive the votes they needed to be elected to the First Division, as the following decade wore on, Vale of Leven struggled and regularly finished near the foot of the table. When the Second Division was suspended in 1915, Vale joined the Western League, after World War I ended Vale of Leven returned to the Scottish League for the third time as members of the reformed Second Division. After a decent fourth-place finish in their first season, the club was relegated to the new Third Division in 1924 and this ill-fated competition was abandoned in 1926 when it became clear that the cost of meeting match guarantees and additional travel expenses were beyond the means of its members. Despite the church name, Vale Ocoba appeared to be a flag of convenience for the Vale of Leven Football & Athletic Club struck off the SFAs roll. Original club colours, Dark blue shirts, dark blue shorts, disaster struck however when the start of World War II obliged the league to be suspended due to restrictions on travel by December 1939. Technically, the current club is unattached to the senior club. Scottish Junior football has a number of clubs that were forced to fold as Senior sides due to financial reasons or as a result of the collapse of the old Scottish Division Three in the late 1920s. This is more prevalent on the West Coast where no non-amateur Senior league exists any longer, the most recent example of this trend has been the former Junior turned Senior turned Junior again side Clydebank. Vale of Leven should not be confused with the slightly differently named East of Scotland League club Vale of Leithen