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
The Celtic Football Club is a professional football club based in Glasgow, Scotland, which plays in the Scottish Premiership. The club was founded in 1887 with the purpose of alleviating poverty in the immigrant Irish population in the East End of Glasgow and they played their first match in May 1888, a friendly match against Rangers which Celtic won 5–2. Celtic established itself within Scottish football, winning six league titles during the first decade of the 20th century. The club enjoyed their greatest successes during the 1960s and 70s under Jock Stein when they won nine league titles. Celtic have won the Scottish League Championship on 48 occasions, most recently in the 2016–17 season, the Scottish Cup 36 times, Celtic also reached the 1970 European Cup Final, and the 2003 UEFA Cup Final. Celtic have a fierce rivalry with Rangers, and the clubs have become known as the Old Firm. The two clubs have dominated Scottish football, winning 102 league titles between them since the inception of the Scottish League in 1890. The clubs fanbase was estimated in 2003 as being around nine million worldwide, an estimated 80,000 fans travelled to Seville for the 2003 UEFA Cup Final. The club has the nickname, The Bhoys. However, according to the Celtic press office, the established club was known to many as the bold boys. A postcard from the early 20th century that pictured the team, the extra h imitates the spelling system of Gaelic, wherein the letter b is often accompanied by the letter h. On 28 May 1888, Celtic played their first official match against Rangers, Neil McCallum scored Celtics first ever goal. Celtics first kit consisted of a shirt with a green collar, black shorts. The original club crest was a green cross on a red oval background. In 1889 Celtic reached the final of the Scottish Cup, this was their first season in the competition, Celtic again reached the final of the Scottish Cup in 1892, but this time were victorious after defeating Queens Park 5–1 in the final, the clubs first major honour. Several months later the moved to its new ground, Celtic Park. In 1895, Celtic set the League record for the highest home score when they beat Dundee 11–0, in 1897, the club became a Private limited company and Willie Maley was appointed as the first secretary-manager. Between 1905 and 1910, Celtic won the Scottish League Championship six times in a row, in both 1907 and 1908 Celtic also won the Scottish Cup, this was the first time a Scottish club had ever won the Double
Raith Rovers F.C.
Raith Rovers Football Club is a Scottish professional football club based in the town of Kirkcaldy, Fife. The clubs highest ever league position came in 1922, when it finished third behind champions Celtic, the club also came runners-up in 1949 as well as being losing finalists in the 1913 Scottish Cup Final. As a result of winning the League Cup in 1994, Raith Rovers qualified for the UEFA Cup the following season, the club managed to reach the second round, only to be defeated 4–1 on aggregate to eventual champions FC Bayern Munich. Raiths home ground is Starks Park, an 8,867 all-seater stadium in the south of Kirkcaldy, the club has been based at the ground since 1891. The modern Raith Rovers were founded in 1883 in the Scottish town of Kirkcaldy, there had been a much earlier Raith Rovers which merged with what is now Cowdenbeath in 1882. Although it lends its name to many entities in the region, a Raith Rovers victory in the 1960s led to a famous BBC commentators blunder that the fans would be dancing in the streets of Raith tonight. Although commonly attributed to Englishman David Coleman, this was said by Scotsman Sam Leitch. Raith as an area once stretched from south of Loch Gelly as far as Kirkcaldy, a mixture of local success and ambition took the club into the senior leagues where they established themselves and thereby became the pre-eminent team in the town. The team subsequently moved to their current home of Starks Park named after, after two consecutive successful seasons in 2nd Division, the club elected to join the 1st Division in 1909–10. Three years later, the made their first appearance in the Scottish Cup Final losing 2–0 to Falkirk. In 1921 an innovation in training, previously unknown to the Scottish game, was introduced by directors following a visit to England, the use of a ball in training. As noted in the Fife Free Press, Hitherto, ball practice has been an absentee from the curriculum on the grounds that being away from the ball for a week imparted eagerness on the Saturday. This heralded an era of success, the club had its highest ever league finish in the Scottish top division, when they came third to the Old Firm in 1921–22. This was followed by the incident where the players were shipwrecked in 1923. The team had been en route to play matches on the Canary Islands when the boat ran aground. Fortunately, the players were able to disembark and continue on their way a few days later. The forward line of Glen, Gilmour, Norrie Haywood, Whitelaw, around this time, a then record crowd of 25,500 filled Starks Park on a Wednesday afternoon for a Scottish Cup quarter-final replay against East Fife. East Fife won 3–2 and went on to become the only 2nd Division club to win the Scottish Cup until Hibs matched the feat in 2016
Clydebank Football Club are a Scottish junior football club based in the town of Clydebank, West Dunbartonshire. The current club, formed in 2003, is a member of the West Super League Premier Division, the town has been represented by several previous incarnations in both senior and junior football. The current club can trace their development from Clydebank Juniors F. C. who were founded in 1899. Following chronic financial difficulties, the club were out by Airdrie United and relocated to play in Airdrie under the new identity. A year later, supporters of the version of the club re-established its identity once more. The 1965–2002 incarnation of Clydebank F. C. were the club of that name to represent the town in senior football. The first club was formed in 1888 but never competed at a high level, of more significance was the second Clydebank F. C. formed in 1914 and a Scottish Football League member from then until 1931. The first senior club to represent the town was formed in 1888 and they entered the Scottish Cup several times, making their last appearance in the competition proper in the 1893–94 competition. In addition they were members of the Scottish Federation from 1891 to 1893 and this club folded in 1895, to be resurrected in 1899, with this second incarnation also based at Hamilton Park. They retained their membership of the Scottish Football Association until 1902, the junior club were formed in the village of Duntocher in 1899, under the name of Duntocher F. C. This was as the result of a breakaway from another local junior club and they changed their name to Clydebank Juniors in 1900 on moving to the town itself. They were based at the original Kilbowie Park prior to the construction of a ground in 1939. Around about this time they were one of Scotlands leading junior sides and they also won the West of Scotland Cup in 1949–50 season captained by centre half Joe Gallagher. They were formed in 1914 and immediately elected to the Scottish Football League, after suffering from financial difficulties, they resigned from the SFL and disbanded in 1931. During their time in the league, they were runners-up in Division Two twice, in 1922-23, in 1964 the Steedman brothers, Jack and Charlie, owners of East Stirlingshire F. C. controversially merged their club with Clydebank Juniors. The new club inherited East Stirlingshires place in Division Two, playing matches at Kilbowie. After a year, a challenge by East Stirlingshire supporters led to them resuming their former identity back in Falkirk. The Steedmans elected to remain at Clydebank, establishing a new club at senior level, although in many senses a resumption of Clydebank Juniors, albeit at a different level, they were technically a brand new club
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
Heart of Midlothian F.C.
Heart of Midlothian Football Club, commonly known as Hearts, is a Scottish professional football club based in Gorgie in the west of Edinburgh. It is currently the only Scottish Premiership club in the city, with Edinburgh derby rivals Hibernian playing in the Scottish Championship and Edinburgh City playing in Scottish League Two. Hearts is the oldest football club in the Scottish capital, having formed in 1874 by a group of friends from the Heart of Midlothian Quadrille Assembly Club. The modern club crest is based on the Heart of Midlothian mosaic on the citys Royal Mile, Hearts play at Tynecastle Stadium, where home matches have been played since 1886. Their current training facilities are at the nearby Heriot Watt University in Edinburgh, the clubs most successful period was under Tommy Walker from the mid 1950s to mid 1960s. They won seven trophies in this period and were runners up for five others, Jimmy Wardhaugh, Willie Bauld and Alfie Conn, Sr. known affectionately as the Terrible Trio were famed forwards at the start of this period with wing half lynch pins Dave Mackay and John Cumming. Wardhaugh was part of another notable Hearts attacking trinity in the 1957–58 league winning side, along with Jimmy Murray and Alex Young they set the record for the number of goals scored in that league winning campaign. In doing so became the only side to finish a season with a goal difference exceeding 100. Hearts have won the Scottish Cup eight times, most recently in 2012 after a 5–1 win over city-rivals Hibernian, Hearts four Scottish League Cup triumphs were all under Walker, most recently a 1–01962 Scottish League Cup Final victory against Kilmarnock. The most recent Scottish League Cup Final appearance was in 2013 when they lost to St Mirren 3–2, in 1958, Heart of Midlothian became the third Scottish and fifth British team to compete in European competition at the time. The club reached the quarter-finals of the 1988–89 UEFA Cup, losing out to Bayern Munich 2–1 on aggregate, the club was formed by a group of friends from the Heart of Midlothian Quadrille Assembly Club. The group of friends bought a ball before playing local rules football at the Tron from where they were directed by a policeman to The Meadows to play. Local rules football was a mix of rugby and football as we know it, in December 1873 a match was held between XIs selected by Mr Thomson from Queens Park and Mr Gardner from Clydesdale at Raimes Park in Bonnington. This was the first time that Association rules had seen in Edinburgh. Members from the dance club viewed the match and in 1874 decided to adopt the association rules, the new side was Heart of Mid-Lothian Football Club. The earliest mention of Heart of Midlothian in a context is a report in The Scotsman newspaper from 20 July 1864 of The Scotsman vs Heart of Mid-Lothian at cricket. It is not known if this was the club who went on to form the football club. The club took its name from the Heart of Midlothian jail, by becoming members of the Scottish Association Hearts were able to play in the Scottish Cup for the first time
St Mirren F.C.
St Mirren Football Club is a Scottish professional football club based in Paisley, Renfrewshire, founded in 1877. The team plays in the Scottish Championship, having been relegated from the Scottish Premiership in 2014–15, the team has two nicknames, the Buddies and the Saints. St Mirren have won the Scottish Cup three times,1926,1959 and 1987, and the Scottish League Cup in 2013, the club has played in European competition four times, UEFA Cup Winners Cup in 1987–88 and the UEFA Cup in 1980–81, 1983–84 and 1985–86. The clubs home ground since 2009 is St Mirren Park, an 8,023 capacity all seater ground on Greenhill Road, the clubs former ground from 1894 until 2009 was also called St Mirren Park, but was more commonly known as Love Street. St Mirren was formed as a club which included, among other sports, cricket. The increasing popularity of football ensured that by 1877 the members had decided to play football and 1877 is the football clubs official foundation date. They are named after Saint Mirin, the founder of a church at the site of Paisley Abbey, there is also a street in Paisley named St Mirren Street. St Mirren played their first match on 6 October 1877, defeating Johnstone Britannia 1–0 at Shortroods, two years later, the club moved to another ground, Thistle Park, Greenhills. St Mirrens first Scottish Cup match came on 4 September 1880, the following year, the Buddies reached their first cup final but were beaten 3–1 by Thornliebank in the Renfrewshire Cup. In 1883 however the scores were reversed with the Saints winning the Renfrewshire Cup and it is in 1883 that move to their third home, that of West March, defeating Queens Park in the first game. In 1885, St Mirren played their first match against Morton, the 1890 season was an historic season for St Mirren, as they became founder members of the Scottish Football League along with fellow Paisley club Abercorn. Of the 11 founder clubs, only 4 survive in the current league system and it was during the match against Morton at Cappielow in this year, that St Mirren played one of the first night games under light from oil lamps. St Mirren moved to Love Street in 1894 and reached their first Scottish Cup final in the 1907–08 season but were defeated 5–1 by Celtic, the Buddies went on to lift the trophy in 1926,1959 and 1987. In 1922, St Mirren were invited to play in the Barcelona Cup invitational tournament to celebrate the inauguration of Les Corts and they won the tournament by beating Notts County in the final. In the 1979–80 season, St Mirren achieved their equal highest-ever finish in the top-flight finishing third behind Aberdeen and that season Saints also became the first and last Scottish club to win the Anglo-Scottish Cup, defeating Bristol City in a two-legged final. The following season, St Mirren competed in European competition for the first time, IF Elfsborg in Sweden, followed by a 0–0 draw in the second leg. The next round saw them play French team Saint-Étienne, although St Mirrens home leg ended up a 0–0 draw, Saint-Étienne pulled off a 2–0 victory in the second leg to put St Mirren out of the cup. In 2001, St Mirren finished bottom of the Premier League despite losing one of their final seven matches