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
Rangers Football Club are a football club in Glasgow, Scotland, which plays in the Scottish Premiership, the first tier of the Scottish Professional Football League. Their home ground, Ibrox Stadium, is in the south-west of the city, Rangers were the first British club to reach a UEFA tournament final and won the European Cup Winners Cup in 1972 after being runner-up twice in 1961 and 1967. A third runners-up finish in Europe came in the UEFA Cup in 2008, Rangers have a long-standing rivalry with Celtic, the two Glasgow clubs being collectively known as the Old Firm. The four founders of Rangers – brothers Moses and Peter McNeil, Peter Campbell, Rangers first match, in May that year, was a goalless friendly draw with Callander on Glasgow Green. David Hill was also a founder member, in 1873, the club held its first annual meeting and staff were elected. By 1876 Rangers had its first international player, with Moses McNeil representing Scotland in a match against Wales. In 1877 Rangers reached a Scottish Cup final, after drawing the first game, Rangers refused to turn up for the replay, Rangers won the Glasgow Merchants Charity Cup the following year against Vale of Leven 2–1, their first major cup. The first-ever Old Firm match took place in 1888, the year of Celtics establishment, Rangers lost 5–2 in a friendly to a team composed largely of guest players from Hibernian. The 1890–91 season saw the inception of the Scottish Football League, the clubs first-ever league match, on 16 August 1890, resulted in a 5–2 victory over Heart of Midlothian. After finishing joint-top with Dumbarton, a play-off held at Cathkin Park finished 2–2, Rangers first-ever Scottish Cup win came in 1894 after a 3–1 final victory over rivals Celtic. By the start of the 20th century, Rangers had won two titles and three Scottish Cups. During William Wiltons time as secretary and then team manager. Taking over as manager from William Wilton in 1920, Bill Struth was Rangers most successful manager, on 2 January 1939 a British league attendance record was broken as 118,567 fans turned out to watch Rangers beat Celtic in the traditional New Years Day Old Firm match. During the wartime regional league setup, Rangers achieved their highest score against old firm rivals Celtic with an 8–1 win in the Southern Football League, Rangers also lost by their biggest Old Firm margin of 7–1. Rangers reached the semi-finals of the European Cup in 1960, losing to German club Eintracht Frankfurt by a record aggregate 12–4 for a Scottish team. In 1961 Rangers became the first British team to reach a European final when they contested the Cup Winners Cup final against Italian side Fiorentina, Rangers lost again in the final of the same competition in 1967, by a single goal after extra time to Bayern Munich. The Ibrox disaster occurred on 2 January 1971 when large-scale crushing on an exit at the culmination of the New Years Day Old Firm game claimed 66 lives. An enquiry concluded that the crush was likely to have happened ten minutes after the final whistle and to have been triggered by someone falling on the stairs
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
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
Queen of the South F.C.
Queen of the South Football Club are a Scottish professional football club founded in 1919 and located in Dumfries. The club currently plays in the Scottish Championship, in the tier of Scottish football. They are officially nicknamed The Doonhamers but are referred to as Queens or QoS. Their home ground since their formation has been Palmerston Park, Queens led Scotlands top division up until New Year in season 1953–54 and the clubs highest finish in Scotlands top division was fourth in season 1933–34. The club reached their first major cup final in 2008 when they reached the final of the Scottish Cup, gary Naysmith is the current club manager, having been appointed on 1 December 2016 and John Rankin is the current club captain, having been appointed on 7 January 2017. Robbie Neilson, the current manager of MK Dons, said about Queens from his period at the club in 2002, Its a well-run club. In the 2008 UEFA Cup qualifying trip to Denmark Queen of the South fans were hailed as a great credit both to their club and to Scotland by Danish police, about 850 supporters of the Dumfries club travelled to Denmark to watch the UEFA Cup clash with FC Nordsjaelland. Despite the fact that their team was eliminated, local police said their behaviour was impressive. Insp Rune Hamann said, It was a pleasure hosting such a visit by Queen of the South whose supporters were well behaved. Copenhagen was particularly busy in the build up to and after the match with a carnival, I look forward to welcoming Queen of the South and their terrific supporters back in Denmark in the future. Ch Insp Mickey Collins from Dumfries and Galloway Constabulary said the fans were a pleasure to work along with and he added, Despite the huge numbers of supporters who travelled to Denmark there were no arrests, incidents or issues of any concern. Great praise should be passed on to those fortunate enough to be at the match, the club mascot is Dougie the Doonhamer, a human sized border collie dog. The character has been played for many years by supermarket worker Brian Harkness. Queen of the South are often cited as the only league club in the United Kingdom to be mentioned in the Bible. Luke 11,31 states The Queen of the South shall rise up at the judgment with the men of this generation, Queen of the South is similarly quoted under Matthew 12,42. In the biblical quote the Queen of the South is considered to be the Queen of Sheba. P, Queens played for 78 minutes with 10 men after goalkeeper George Farm was injured in the 12th minute and was carried off. Dundees Alan Gilzean scored 7 of the goals, Dundee were reigning Scottish League Champions at the time and would make the European Cup semi-finals that season where they lost to eventual winners AC Milan. Highest free standing floodlights in Scottish football, Queens floodlights were first used on 29 October 1958, to mark the occasion Preston North End sent a team north for a friendly match. First Queens players to four senior Scottish football medals while playing for the club, Jim Thomson
Aberdeen Football Club are a Scottish professional football club based in Aberdeen, Scotland. They compete in the Scottish Premiership and have never relegated from the top division of the Scottish football league system since they were promoted in 1905. Aberdeen have won four Scottish league titles, seven Scottish Cups and they are also the only Scottish team to have won two European trophies, having won the European Cup Winners Cup and the European Super Cup in 1983. Aberdeen were the last club outside of the Old Firm to win a title, in 1984–85. The team has enjoyed success since this golden era, though a 19-year wait for a major trophy was ended by winning the 2013–14 Scottish League Cup. Aberdeen have played at Pittodrie Stadium since their inception, the ground currently has a capacity of 20,866 and was the first all-seated and all-covered stadium in the United Kingdom. Pittodrie was also the first football stadium to feature a dug-out, the clubs colours have been primarily red and white since 1939, before this, they played in black and gold vertical stripes. Aberdeen attract support from the city and surrounding areas, as they are the senior team within a wide area. Aberdeen have no close rivals, their nearest neighbours at the same level are in the city of Dundee. The current Aberdeen F. C. was formed following the merger of three based in the city—Aberdeen, Victoria United and Orion—in 1903. The new club played its first match on 15 August 1903 and that first season produced a win in the Aberdeenshire Cup, but only a third-place finish in the Northern League. The club applied for membership of the Scottish League for the following season, in 1904, the club were managed by Jimmy Philip. At the end of its first season, despite having finished seventh out of teams, Aberdeen were elected to the new. They have remained in the top tier of Scottish football ever since, from 1906, the club made steady progress, with a Scottish Cup semi-final appearance in 1908 and another in 1911. In that season of 1910–11, Aberdeen recorded their first victories over the Old Firm of Celtic and Rangers, and led the league for a time, wartime affected the club as much as any other, despite spending cuts and other economies, by 1917 the situation became untenable. Aberdeen dropped out of football, along with Dundee and Raith Rovers. Senior football returned on 16 August 1919, and Aberdeen resumed with a fixture against Albion Rovers, Philip was still in charge, and continued to oversee a team capable of isolated good results, but never quite able to sustain a challenge long enough to win a trophy. In 1923, Aberdeen were drawn against Peterhead in the Scottish Cup, Philip retired a year later, and was replaced as manager by Paddy Travers
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
Kilmarnock Football Club, commonly known as Killie, is a Scottish football team based in the town of Kilmarnock, East Ayrshire. Lee McCulloch is the manager of the side, after Lee Clark left in February 2017. The club has won many honours since its formation in 1869, the club is also one of only a few Scottish clubs to have played in all three European competitions. Killie is the oldest football club in the Scottish Premiership, and are also the oldest professional club in the country, home matches are played at Rugby Park, an 17,889 capacity all seater stadium situated in the town itself. Kilmarnock took part in the first ever match in the Scottish Cup against the now defunct Renton in 1873. On 5 January 1869 the club was founded during a meeting at Robertsons Temperance Hotel on Portland Street. Originally they played a more similar to rugby and these origins are reflected to this day by the name of the clubs home ground – Rugby Park. The difficulty in organising fixtures under this code and the influence of Queens Park soon persuaded them to adopt the association code instead. At this time, the club played games in a number locations including Holm Quarry, the Grange on Irvine Road, furthermore, Kilmarnock sent a letter stating their willingness to form the Scottish Football Association. Kilmarnock also competed in the inaugural Scottish Cup tournament in 1873–74 and their 2–0 defeat against Renton in the First Round on 18 October 1873 is thought to have been the first match ever played in the competition. Kilmarnock joined the Scottish League in 1895 and after winning consecutive Second Division titles were elected to the top flight for the first time in 1899, in 1920 Kilmarnock won the Scottish Cup for the first time beating Albion Rovers at Hampden. This was followed soon by their success in 1929 where the beat massive favourites Rangers 2–0 at the national stadium in front of a crowd of 114,708 people. The clubs greatest success was in 1965 under the management of Willie Waddell, on the final day of the season, they travelled to face Hearts at Tynecastle requiring a victory by two goals to nil to win the league at their opponents expense. A memorable 2–0 win saw Kilmarnock crowned Scottish League champions for the first and this capped a period of tremendous consistency which had seen them occupy runners-up spot in four of the previous five seasons. The club is one of only a few Scottish clubs to have played in all three European competitions. Kilmarnock reached the 2007 Scottish League Cup Final, but suffered a 5–1 defeat in the final by Hibernian, after selling Steven Naismith to Rangers for a club-record fee in August 2007, Killie struggled in the 2007–08 Scottish Premier League, finishing in 11th place with 40 points. In January 2010, Kilmarnock were second bottom of the 2009–10 Scottish Premier League, on 11 January 2010, Jim Jefferies left the club by mutual consent and Jimmy Calderwood was appointed manager. Kilmarnock then achieved a first win in nine years against Celtic, continued poor form, however, meant a final day showdown at Rugby Park with Falkirk for SPL survival
Ayr United F.C.
Ayr United Football Club are a Scottish association football club, based in Ayr that plays in the Scottish Championship, the second tier of the Scottish Professional Football League. Formed in 1910 after the merger of former clubs Ayr Parkhouse and Ayr, their nickname is The Honest Men, taken from a line in the poem Tam o Shanter by Scotlands national poet, Robert Burns. The club have spent 34 seasons in Scotlands top division altogether, the club have been the champions of the second tier of Scottish football on six occasions and of the third tier twice, but have not won any national cup competitions. The clubs most famous and most successful manager is Ally MacLeod, in May 2016 United secured promotion to the Scottish Championship via the Playoffs. Ayr United were founded in 1910 after the merger of Ayr Parkhouse, the clubs honours include winning six Second Division titles and a further two such titles, most recently in 1996–97. They have won the competition the Ayrshire Cup on 26 occasions. The Ayrshire Cup was last played for in season 1996–97, since when the competition has been suspended, the clubs overall record scorer is Peter Price, who scored 213 times in competitive matches for the club between 1955 and 1962. Former Scottish national team manager Ally MacLeod is regarded as the clubs most famous and he led the club on three separate occasions spanning 15 years, during which his teams recorded a record 214 wins, and won two league titles. In 1973 MacLeod was voted Ayrs Citizen of the Year, more recent managers have also included the recent Scottish national team manager, George Burley, and former Scottish League Cup winner with Raith Rovers, Gordon Dalziel. Gordon Dalziel is the manager to take Ayr to a National Cup Final on 17 March 2002 when they lost to Rangers 4–0. Their current manager is Ian McCall, although the club has spent 34 seasons in Scotlands top division, they have played in the second and third tiers of Scottish senior football since the 1977–78 season. In 1988, Ayr United fan and businessman Sir David Murray offered to buy the club, during much of the 1990s and 2000s, a period of relative success both in league and cup competitions, the Ayr United chairman was local construction magnate Bill Barr. After Barr stood down, there were occasional boardroom struggles, the club suffered significant cashflow problems in 2004 although it survived with a combination of efforts, prestwick-based Roy Kennedy failed to takeover the club in 2005, and his company Kennedy Construction went bankrupt in 2006. On 24 May 2009, Ayr won the Scottish First Division Play-off against Airdrie United 3–2 on aggregate to win promotion to the First Division. The following season, to celebrate the centenary, Ayr United played in black and white hoops. The away kit was crimson and gold with blue shorts to reflect the club colours. But it was not a successful season, Ayr were relegated on the last day of the season after losing 2–1 to Morton. The club bounced back the season, winning promotion after defeating Forfar Athletic