Scotland is a country that is part of the United Kingdom and covers the northern third of the island of Great Britain. It shares a border with England to the south, and is surrounded by the Atlantic Ocean, with the North Sea to the east. In addition to the mainland, the country is made up of more than 790 islands, including the Northern Isles, the Kingdom of Scotland emerged as an independent sovereign state in the Early Middle Ages and continued to exist until 1707. By inheritance in 1603, James VI, King of Scots, became King of England and King of Ireland, Scotland subsequently entered into a political union with the Kingdom of England on 1 May 1707 to create the new Kingdom of Great Britain. The union also created a new Parliament of Great Britain, which succeeded both the Parliament of Scotland and the Parliament of England. Within Scotland, the monarchy of the United Kingdom has continued to use a variety of styles, titles, the legal system within Scotland has also remained separate from those of England and Wales and Northern Ireland, Scotland constitutes a distinct jurisdiction in both public and private law. Glasgow, Scotlands largest city, was one of the worlds leading industrial cities. Other major urban areas are Aberdeen and Dundee, Scottish waters consist of a large sector of the North Atlantic and the North Sea, containing the largest oil reserves in the European Union. This has given Aberdeen, the third-largest city in Scotland, the title of Europes oil capital, following a referendum in 1997, a Scottish Parliament was re-established, in the form of a devolved unicameral legislature comprising 129 members, having authority over many areas of domestic policy. Scotland is represented in the UK Parliament by 59 MPs and in the European Parliament by 6 MEPs, Scotland is also a member nation of the British–Irish Council, and the British–Irish Parliamentary Assembly. Scotland comes from Scoti, the Latin name for the Gaels, the Late Latin word Scotia was initially used to refer to Ireland. By the 11th century at the latest, Scotia was being used to refer to Scotland north of the River Forth, alongside Albania or Albany, the use of the words Scots and Scotland to encompass all of what is now Scotland became common in the Late Middle Ages. Repeated glaciations, which covered the land mass of modern Scotland. It is believed the first post-glacial groups of hunter-gatherers arrived in Scotland around 12,800 years ago, the groups of settlers began building the first known permanent houses on Scottish soil around 9,500 years ago, and the first villages around 6,000 years ago. The well-preserved village of Skara Brae on the mainland of Orkney dates from this period and it contains the remains of an early Bronze Age ruler laid out on white quartz pebbles and birch bark. It was also discovered for the first time that early Bronze Age people placed flowers in their graves, in the winter of 1850, a severe storm hit Scotland, causing widespread damage and over 200 deaths. In the Bay of Skaill, the storm stripped the earth from a large irregular knoll, when the storm cleared, local villagers found the outline of a village, consisting of a number of small houses without roofs. William Watt of Skaill, the laird, began an amateur excavation of the site, but after uncovering four houses
The Scottish Football Association Challenge Cup, commonly known as the Scottish Cup, is an annual association football knock-out cup competition for mens football clubs in Scotland. The competition was first held in 1873–74, entry is open to all clubs with full or associate membership of the Scottish Football Association. The competition is called the William Hill Scottish Cup for sponsorship reasons and it was first presented to Queens Park, who won the final match of the inaugural tournament in March 1874. The current holder is Hibernian, who won the tournament for the time by defeating Rangers 3–2 in the 2016 final. The tournament starts at the beginning of the Scottish football season in August or September, the Scottish Cup Final is usually the last game of the season, taking place at the end of May. Participating teams enter the tournament at different stages depending on their league ranking, the lowest ranked clubs enter the tournament at the first round whilst the highest ranked, those that compete in the Scottish Premiership, enter at the fourth round stage. The competition is a knock-out tournament, in each round of games the teams are paired at random, with the first team drawn listed as the home team. Every game lasts 90 minutes plus any additional stoppage time, the winner of each game advances to the next round, whilst the loser is eliminated from the tournament. If a game ends in a draw, the fixture is replayed at the ground of the other team at a later date. If the replay also ends in a draw,30 minutes of time is played followed by a penalty shoot-out if there is still no clear winner. In the semi-final and final rounds, if the ends in a draw there is no replay. The competition has a staggered entry system, Scottish League One and six Scottish Championship clubs started in the third round, while the remaining four Championship clubs and all 12 Scottish Premiership clubs entered in the fourth round. Any club that is a full or associate member of the Scottish Football Association is entitled to compete in the tournament, every team that plays in the Scottish Professional Football League is therefore eligible. Between 1895 and 2007, clubs that were SFA members but not competitors in the professional football leagues could only qualify for the tournament by winning the Scottish Qualifying Cup. Clubs that are not members of the SFA may still qualify for the tournament by winning the Highland League, Lowland League, three junior clubs, Banks O Dee, Girvan and Linlithgow Rose are also SFA members and therefore qualify automatically. From 2015, the winners of the Scottish Amateur Cup are also eligible to qualify, players that are registered with a competing club are eligible to play. However, players are not entitled to play for more than one club during the same tournament, each club names eleven players and up to five substitutes before every match. In order to play in the match, a player must have also been registered to compete in the semi-final round for the same club
Hampden Park is a football stadium in the Mount Florida area of Glasgow, Scotland. The 51, 866-capacity venue serves as the stadium of football in Scotland. It is also used for concerts and other sporting events. There were two 19th century stadia called Hampden Park, built on different sites, a stadium on the present site was first opened on 31 October 1903. Hampden was the biggest stadium in the world when it was opened and this was increased further between 1927 and 1937, reaching a peak of 150,000. The record attendance of 149,415, for a Scotland v England match in 1937, is the European record for a football match. Tighter safety regulations meant that the capacity was reduced to 81,000 in 1977, the stadium has been fully renovated since then, with the most recent work being completed in 1999. The stadium houses the offices of the Scottish Football Association and Scottish Professional Football League, Hampden has hosted prestigious sporting events, including three Champions League finals, two Cup Winners Cup finals and a UEFA Cup final. Hampden is a UEFA category four stadium and it is served by the nearby Mount Florida, Queens Park, the oldest club in Scottish football, have played at a venue called Hampden Park since October 1873. The first Hampden Park was overlooked by a terrace named after Englishman John Hampden. Queens Park played at the first Hampden Park for 10 years beginning with a Scottish Cup tie on 25 October 1873, the ground hosted the first Scottish Cup Final, in 1874, and a Scotland v England match in 1878. The club moved to the second Hampden Park,150 yards from the original, a lawn bowling club at the junction of Queens Drive and Cathcart Road marks the site of the first Hampden. The second Hampden Park opened in October 1884 and it became a regular home to the Scottish Cup Final, but Celtic Park shared some of the big matches including the Scotland v England fixture in 1894. In the late 1890s, Queens Park requested more land for development of the second Hampden Park and this was refused by the landlords, which led to the club seeking a new site. Henry Erskine Gordon agreed to sell 12 acres of land off Somerville Drive to Queens Park in November 1899, james Miller designed twin grandstands along the south side of the ground with a pavilion wedged in between. The natural slopes were shaped to form banks of terracing, designed by Archibald Leitch, construction of the new ground took over three years to complete, during construction, a disaster occurred at Ibrox in which part of the wooden terraces collapsed. In response, the terraces at Hampden were firmly set in the earthwork, Third Lanark A. C. took over the second Hampden Park in 1903 and renamed it Cathkin Park. The club rebuilt the ground from scratch due to a failure to agree a fee for the whole stadium, Third Lanark went out of business in 1967 and Cathkin Park is now a public park with much of the original terracing still evident
Clyde Football Club are a Scottish professional football club based in Cumbernauld, who play in Scottish League Two. Formed in 1877 at the River Clyde, the play their home games at Broadwood Stadium. The Clyde Football Club was founded and played on the banks of the River Clyde at Barrowfield, documentary evidence from the SFA and indeed match reports in the Glasgow press clearly show it all began in 1877, and the thread continues unbroken to this day. Heres how the SFA recorded Clydes origins, Sitting on the edge of Bridgeton, Barrowfield Park lay in a triangle of land enclosed by Carstairs Street, Colvend Street and the river Clyde. The area was a mix of chemical, engineering and textile works with a high population density to provide the labour. Today this area is dotted with industrial units, but also contains a grassed area. So it may be possible to stand upon a corner of the original Barrowfield pitch, Barrowfield was originally shared with a short-lived team called Albatross. The club founded then has no resemblance to a professional football club. Clyde F. C. were a members club more akin to a present-day golf or bowling club. Clydes Secretary, John Graham, was also a rower and it seems the club had other sporting. Although most fixtures were informal, the Scottish Cup had existed since 1873, soon there would also be the Glasgow Merchants & Charity Cup and the Glasgow Cup that in their time were hotly contested major competitions. Clyde entered the 1st Round of the Scottish Cup on 29 September 1877 along with one hundred, Third Lanark were the visitors once again and they triumphed 1–0. Clyde joined the Scottish Football League in 1891, following acceptance, Vale of Leven provided the opposition for Clydes first League fixture on Saturday,15 August 1891. In a dream introduction to League football Clyde triumphed 10–3, a mid-table finish saw Clyde complete a confident season in League football, with League football an undoubted success, Barrowfield revealed its limitations and simply could not cope with the crowds as many gained illegal entry. Opposition teams complained about the facilities and it was clear that Clyde would have to do something to appease the League, the solution lay directly across the Clyde on some open ground known as Shawfield. Clyde endured a final season at Barrowfield finishing bottom of Division 1. The final action at Barrowfield was a friendly against crack opposition in the form of Sunderland on 30 April 1898 ending in a 3–3 draw, at a stroke Clyde transformed from Brigtonians to Shawfielders. Clyde said farewell to Barrowfield in the spring of 1898, across the river lay an area of undeveloped land known as Shawfield
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
Alloa Athletic F.C.
Alloa Athletic Football Club is a Scottish association football semi professional club based in the town of Alloa, Clackmannanshire. Founded as Clackmannan County in 1878, the changed its name to Alloa a year later. The club competes in the Scottish League One as a member of the Scottish Professional Football League, the club was elected to the second tier of the Scottish Football League in 1921–22, earning promotion to the top flight in its first season after winning the Second Division. Alloa Athletic first entered in the Scottish Cup in 1883, its best result reaching the quarter-finals on three occasions, the last in 1988. The clubs best result in a cup competition was reaching the final of the Scottish Challenge Cup thrice, winning in 1999. The clubs nickname is The Wasps, referring to its colours of black. Alloa Athletic has been based at Recreation Park in Alloa since 1895, the club were formed in 1878 as Clackmannan County, becoming Alloa a year later and finally adopting the present-day name Alloa Athletic in 1883. Admitted to the Scottish Football Association in the year, the club had to wait until 1921 to elected to the Scottish Football League. In 1906–07, the club were Scottish Football Union champions and won the Central Football League six years later, Alloa won the Scottish Football League Division Two title in their first season but were immediately relegated from the top flight the following season. Promotion was achieved again in 1938–39 but the onset of the Second World War saw the new season curtailed after just five games, when the leagues were re-organised after the war, Alloa were placed back in Division Two. The 1950s and 60s were not overly successful for the Wasps although the club did provide the game with John White who went on to play for Scotland, promotion was finally achieved again from the new Second Division in 1976–77 under the managership of Hugh Wilson. Relegation soon followed but the Wasps went back up 1981–82 under Alex Totten, unfortunately the team was relegated again a year later and a similar pattern followed after further promotions in 1984–85 and 1988–89. Following further league reconstruction, Alloa found themselves as members of the new Third Division in 1995. Under Tom Hendrie, Alloa won this league in 1997–98, the clubs first championship win since 1921–22, the following season saw the team consolidate in the Second Division and also enjoy a famous 7–0 derby win over local rivals Stirling Albion. The team was relegated at the first attempt but bounced back up in 2001–02, relegation followed once more, this time on goal difference. From 2003–2011 Alloa played in the Second Division, in the 2009–2010 season, Alloa looked certain to gain promotion to the Scottish First Division, but they lost out to Stirling by Goal Difference. Days after, however, Alloa pulled off a coup, appointing former Aberdeen. On 7 April 2012, Alloa were confirmed as Scottish Third Division champions after beating Elgin City 8–1 in a game at Recreation Park
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
Queen's Park F.C.
Queens Park Football Club is a Scottish football club based in Glasgow. Queens Park is the oldest association football club in Scotland, having founded in 1867. Queens Park is also the only Scottish football club to have played in the FA Cup Final, the clubs home is a Category 4 stadium, the all-seated Hampden Park in South East Glasgow, which is also the home of the Scottish national team. With 10 titles, Queens Park has won the Scottish Cup the third most times of any club, behind Rangers and Celtic, gentlemen from the local YMCA took part in football matches in the local Glasgow area which gave the club its name. During the inaugural meeting, debate raged over the clubs name, proposals included, The Celts, The Northern and Morayshire. Perhaps such choice of names suggest a Highland influence within the new club, after much deliberation, Queens Park was adopted and carried, but only by a majority of one vote. Although Queens was not the first club in Britain, that going to Edinburgh and John Hopes Football Club, formed in 1824. Opposition first came in the form of a now defunct Glaswegian side called Thistle F. C. on 30 November 1872, Scotland faced England at the West of Scotland Cricket Club ground at Hamilton Crescent. For the one and only time all eleven Scots players were from Queens Park and they wore blue jerseys,4,000 spectators watched Scotland play with a 2–2–6 formation and England with a 1–1–8 line-up. Queens Park formed the Scottish Football Association on 13 March 1873, the match against Dumbreck on 25 October was the first match to be played at Hampden Park. It was also the first match which saw Queens Park players wear their black and white hooped jerseys. David Wotherspoon, a Queens Park player and committee member, has credited with the introduction of the black. Most importantly, it was the first Scottish Cup tie and Scottish competitive match for the club, in the final, Queens defeated Clydesdale 2–0 at Hampden. Success in the Scottish Cup followed in the two years with final victories over Renton and Third Lanark. In drawing 2–2 with Clydesdale in the 1875 semi-final, Queens conceded their first ever goals, defeat for the club was first experienced with a 2–1 defeat to Vale of Leven in the 5th round in December 1876. Third Lanark and Rangers eliminated the Spiders before Queens reclaimed the cup in 1880 with a win over Thornliebank, Dumbarton were beaten in the final in successive years. In 1881, Queens had to them twice after Dumbarton successfully appealed that the crowd at Kinning Park had encroached following a 2–1 defeat. Dumbarton got revenge in 1883 but Queens won again in 1884 without even having to play the final after Vale of Leven refused to play on the date stipulated by the SFA, in the early days of Englands FA Cup, Scottish clubs were often invited to compete
The stadium has a capacity of 3,746 with 626 seated. The stadium was opened in 1890 and has been the home of Stenhousemuir since and it has also played host to the home games of other nearby clubs including Stirling Albion and Falkirk whilst their new stadiums were under construction. The record attendance of 12,500 was set during a Scottish Cup quarter final match against East Fife in March 1950, Stenhousemuir F. C. was founded in 1884 following the breakaway from a local team called Heather Rangers. The club played at two grounds, Tryst Park and Goschen Park, before moving to Ochilview in 1890. The name Ochilview derives from the nearby Ochil Hills which are visible from the stadium, in 1928 a new main stand was constructed with bench seating for 310 spectators. It was known by fans as the Dolls House due to its small size and it was built to replace the previous stand which was gutted by a fire in the same year. Ochilview Park recorded its largest official attendance on 11 March 1950, a year later, Ochilview wrote itself into Scottish football history when it was the venue of the first ever floodlit match in Scotland, during a friendly against Hibernian on 7 November 1951. In 1994, Stenhousemuir were considering relocation, having agreed to sell Ochilview to a supermarket chain for £2.5 million. The scheme, however, was frustrated by planning regulations, at the end of season 1994–95, the covered terracing on the south side of Ochilview was removed to make way for a new 626 seater main stand. The new stand, which opened in season 1996–97, was named as the Norway Stand due to a sponsorship deal with Stenhousemuirs Norwegian supporters club. It is now the only seated accommodation available at the ground, the north side of the ground is now largely used for car-parking, but could be used as standing accommodation in the event of a larger than usual crowd being expected. Ochilview Park has played host to several ground-sharing agreements throughout its history from clubs near Stenhousemuir in towns such as Stirling, however, the first to do so was Stenhousemuir Juniors in the early 1900s for one season in 1909–10. The next club to share the ground was Stirling Albion who played their games at Ochilview for the 1992–93 season whilst the clubs previous home of Annfield Stadium was demolished. The club moved to their new home of Forthbank Stadium in 1993, marquee-type stands were erected on the north and east sides of the ground to temporarily raise the grounds capacity to 5,267 during Falkirks period of tenancy. The agreement is intended to be for a period of five years. Apart from the new stand, only one side of the ground is usually in use for spectators. In season 2004–05, a new roof was installed here, constructed by club volunteers, the former grass banking at the east end of Ochilview was removed some years ago, and the area has since been flattened and replaced with artificial pitches for community use. Ochilview Park today has a capacity of 3,746
Cliftonhill Stadium, currently also known as the Exsel Group Stadium for sponsorship purposes, is the home ground of the Scottish Professional Football League team Albion Rovers. The ground is situated in the town of Coatbridge, North Lanarkshire, Albion moved from Meadow Park to Cliftonhill in 1919, with the new ground opening on 25 December. The Main Stand sits high on a rise above Main Street and was built in the season as their only Scottish Cup Final appearance. A roof extension over the paddock was added in 1994, the Main Stand and paddock are the only parts of the stadium normally used nowadays and the current capacity is listed as 1,238. In its heyday, Cliftonhill housed many more people and its record attendance was set on 8 February 1936 when 27,381 watched the visit of Rangers. Floodlighting was installed at the ground in October 1968 and since then, Cliftonhill has at times staged speedway, greyhound racing. Unusually and owing to the small capacity, there are no stands or open space behind either goals for spectators. The sizeable partly covered terrace on the side of the main stand is currently closed to all fans. During the 1990s it looked likely that Albion Rovers would leave Cliftonhill to share a stadium with local rivals Airdrieonians, the floodlighting system comes from Cardiff Arms Park, when it was demolished to make way for the Millennium Stadium. In 2006 the front entrance and main stand featured in a UK television advert for Flash, currently, it contains a club shop which opens one hour prior to home first team matches. The dimensions of the pitch are 110 by 72 yards, in 2007, Cliftonhill was subject to repeated vandalism. In 2015, the capacity of the rose to 1,572 when the club upgraded the Airdrie End of the stadium. At the start of the 2016–17 season, Rovers announced a deal with local IT, the stadium, which had been identified as a potential venue in the 1950s, became the home of Edinburgh Monarchs speedway team in 1968. The renamed Coatbridge Monarchs raced in 1969 but closed when the licence was sold to Wembley Lions. The stadium hosted Glasgow Tigers from 1973 to mid season 1977 when the promotion moved to Blantyre Greyhound Stadium, the move prompted by a desire to replace the speedway track with a greyhound track. The original speedway track was unusual as the bends were laid out on the terracing at either end giving the track extremely banked bends, Cliftonhill was first used for greyhound racing on 11 December 1931. The racing was independent and a greyhound called Song Of Love was the first ever winner over 380 yards, the track closed in the mid-fifties before opening again twenty years later during September 1977. The new circumference was 400 metres and race distances were 300,500 and 700 yards, Greyhound racing ceased for good during 1988
Scottish Challenge Cup
There were also two guest teams each from the NIFL Premiership and Welsh Premier League, the first time the competition featured teams from outside Scottish football. The competition was first held during the 1990–91 season as the B&Q Centenary Cup to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the formation of the SFL and it was intended to be a one-off competition but was continued due to its popularity. The first winner of the tournament was Dundee, who defeated Ayr United, Falkirk are the most successful team in the tournament, with four wins, most recently in 2012. The most recent winner was Dundee United, who defeated St Mirren in the 2017 final, the Challenge Cup is a knock-out tournament. Within a regionalised format, clubs are paired at random and the first club drawn listed as the home team, the winner of each match progresses to the next round and the loser is eliminated from the tournament. Every match, including the final, is a tie that lasts 90 minutes plus any additional stoppage time. If no clear winner has been determined after 90 minutes of time,30 minutes of extra time is played. If the score is level after extra time then the winner is decided by a penalty shoot-out. Beginning with the 2016–17 season, the competition has expanded to 54 entrants. Teams are seeded to enter the competition over any of the first four rounds, the final is played at a neutral venue. The competition was created in the 1990–91 season to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the formation of the Scottish Football League in 1890 and it was intended to run for only one season but continued due to its popularity. This was reflected in attendances at matches in the later rounds of the tournament including a full capacity crowd of 11,500 at Fir Park in the first final. The cup was sponsored by DIY retail company B&Q and named the B&Q Centenary Cup for the first year, when Stenhousemuir won the final in 1995 it was regarded as the clubs greatest achievement in its 111-year history. The number of competitors has varied in relation to the number of clubs with Scottish Football League membership, before the change in 2010, several clubs received a random bye in the first round in order to even out the number of fixtures. The Challenge Cup continued under the auspices of the Scottish Professional Football League after the Scottish Football League merged with the Scottish Premier League in 2013 and this was simplified in the 2014–15 season, with the two additional places going to the Highland League champion and the Lowland League champion. Two teams from the League of Ireland will be included in the competition for the 2017–18 season, the final match of the tournament is played at a neutral venue, usually one that is geographically close or equidistant to where the clubs contesting the match are based. Eight different venues have hosted the final, Fir Park in Motherwell was the first, in 1990, and has since hosted four more finals, the last in 2017. McDiarmid Park in Perth has been the most frequent venue, staging it nine times between 1994 and 2015, other venues to host the final more than once are Broadwood Stadium, Excelsior Stadium and Almondvale Stadium
Dumbarton Football Club is a semi-professional football club based in Dumbarton, Scotland. The club were one of the most successful of the nineteenth century, the club were the first team to win at least one league title in each of the four tiers in the Scottish league system. Stevie Aitken is the manager, having been appointed on 27 May 2015. For the 2016–17 season, the team will wear strips from the Joma brand, the clubs badge features an elephant with a castle on its back, this represents Dumbarton Rock with Dumbarton Castle upon it, based on the historic town crest. Dumbarton Rock, a plug, is said to resemble an elephant. The teams nickname The Sons is derived from the phrase Sons of The Rock, Dumbarton play their home games at The Cheaper Insurance Direct Stadium. The 2,020 all seated stadium has used since 2 December 2000. The main stand is overshadowed by Dumbarton Rock & sits aside the banks of the River Leven, between May and November 2000, Dumbarton shared Cliftonhill in Coatbridge with Albion Rovers. The existing site would be used by Denny Homes to build 180 houses, Dumbarton were the first league club in Scotland to have a supporters trust, which works to strengthen the links between the club and the fans. The trust own a significant number of shares in the club and are currently the fourth largest shareholder, following a £25,000 direct investment, the trust also has a representative on the club board of directors. The supporters trust works with the club to produce the match programme & run the club website, as well as those important functions, the trusts main role at the club is that of overseeing commercial activity. As of 31 March 2017 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. Stats include permanent managers who had initial caretaker spells, as of match played Saturday 1 April 2017. C