Inverness Caledonian Thistle F.C.
Inverness Caledonian Thistle Football Club is a professional football club from Inverness, Scotland who compete in the Scottish Premiership. They are currently managed by Richie Foran, Caledonian Thistle F. C. were formed in August 1994 by the merger of Caledonian and Inverness Thistle, both members of the Highland Football League. The new club was formed with a view to applying for one of the two vacancies in the Scottish Football League, created when the league restructured in 1994 to four divisions of ten teams each. They were successful and were elected to the Scottish Third Division along with Highland derby rivals Ross County, the clubs name was amended to Inverness Caledonian Thistle F. C. in 1996 at the request of Inverness District Council. Inverness also knocked other SPL teams out of cup competitions, including Motherwell, over the first ten years of their existence the club had been responsible for a total of 12 shocks and as a result had gained themselves a reputation as being giant killers. On 25 February 2007, Invernesss run of cup victories over Celtic came to an end following two goals in the last two minutes of their fifth round tie at Caledonian Stadium. Having led 1–0 for the majority of the thanks to a Graham Bayne goal. A significant event in the history was the signing of Romanian international Marius Niculae. Niculae was involved in the clubs 2007–08 campaign and played at UEFA Euro 2008 and he later became involved in a dispute with the club over a share of the transfer fee that was not paid to him when he left. As a result, Inverness were ordered by FIFA to pay £133,000 to the player, the club appealed against the decision to the Court of Arbitration for Sport, and in November 2011, the club won their appeal. Having won the 2009–10 First Division title in their first year back in the division since 2003–04, Season 2014–15 saw the club finish in their best ever placing of third. After a promising start to their campaign in 1994–95, the club eventually finished sixth in the Third Division. The following season, Inverness CT showed improvement with a third-place finish, in Season 1996–97, they won the Third Division Championship following a 4–1 home win over Albion Rovers in front of nearly 3,000 fans. This was just 5 months after moving into the Caledonian Stadium, the club spent two seasons in the Second Division. After a closely fought campaign, they finished runners-up to Livingston in Season 1998–99, Season 2003–2004 could be regarded as the clubs most successful up to that point. This made the club eligible for promotion to the Scottish Premier League, however, SPL rules at that time stated that all member clubs must have a stadium with a minimum capacity of 10,000 seats. Caledonian Stadium did not meet this criterion, leaving the clubs Board with a dilemma, either to remain in the First Division or to groundshare with Aberdeen, over 100 miles away. After consulting with supporters, the Board decided the sacrifice of one season in Aberdeen would be a compromise to ensure Premier League participation for the club
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
Brechin City F.C.
Brechin City Football Club is a Scottish football club based in the town of Brechin in Angus. The club was founded in 1906 by players and officials of two clubs, Brechin Harp and Brechin Hearts. The club currently competes in the Scottish League One as a member of the Scottish Professional Football League, the clubs highest achievements include winning the third tier of Scottish football four times, the last coming in 2004–05 as champions of the Second Division. The club has reached the final of the Scottish Challenge Cup. Brechins home ground is Glebe Park with the capacity to seat around 1,500 spectators in its capacity of 4,083, the current player/manager is Darren Dods, who was appointed in June 2015. The club was founded in 1906 by players and officials from two successful local junior sides – Brechin Harp and Brechin Hearts. Although Brechin Harp folded with the establishment of the side, Brechin Hearts continued as a viable. The club won its first important local honour, the Forfarshire Cup, the club moved to their Glebe Park home in 1919, a stadium which currently has a capacity of 3,960 and is famous for the hedge that runs alongside one side of the pitch. The team was admitted to the Scottish league in 1923 with the formation of the original Third Division, however City struggled, finishing bottom of the League in that first season. The club failed to make any headway in the doomed division, the club was not away long however as it returned to the League for the 1929–30 season following the departure of Bathgate and Arthurlie the previous season. Once again however the club finished rock bottom, the club continued to struggle in the bottom half of the Second Division throughout the 1930s before going into hibernation during the Second World War. Indeed, so poor was the club at times that during the 1937–38 season the club were beaten 10–0 by Cowdenbeath, Albion Rovers, the club remained in this set-up until its success in the North-East section in the 1953–54 season saw it return to full League membership. Their first season back however resulted in another bottom placed finish, the unwanted feat of finishing bottom two years in a row was repeated again in 1972–73 and 1973–74 as Brechin City continued to be one of the weakest sides in Scottish League football. The club finished 17th out of 20 in the 1974–75 season and as such was placed in the new Division Two, the new set-up suited the club little better as they remained in and around the bottom. However a mid-table 1979–80 season ushered in something of a change in fortune as the club began to challenge for its first promotion as full League members. With both a new stand and floodlighting added to Glebe Park, the club played with a new ambition until finally breaking its duck with a win in the 1982–83 season. Under Wills progressive leadership City found its feet in the First Division, brechins return to the First Division was to prove somewhat inauspicious as it was immediately relegated, although 1992–93 season saw it promoted again, this time as runners-up. Again, however, it was relegated immediately and worse was to follow as it suffered consecutive demotions, dropping into the newly created Third Division, the fourth tier of League football
Scottish Premier League
The Scottish Premier League was the top level league competition for professional football clubs in Scotland. The league was founded in 1998, when it broke away from the Scottish Football League and it was abolished in 2013, when the SPL and SFL merged to form the new Scottish Professional Football League, with its top division being known as the Scottish Premiership. A total of 19 clubs competed in the SPL, but only the Old Firm clubs, Celtic, for most of its history, the Scottish Football League had a two divisional structure between which clubs were promoted and relegated at the end of each season. This system came into force for the 1975–76 season and this setup continued until the 1994–95 season, when a four divisional structure was introduced. This involved the creation of a Third Division, with all four divisions consisting of ten clubs, on 8 September 1997, the clubs in the Premier Division decided to split from the Scottish Football League and form a Scottish Premier League. This followed an example in England, which came into force during the 1992–93 season. This decision was fuelled by a desire by the top clubs in Scotland to retain more of the revenue generated by the game, originally, league sponsorship money was divided proportionally between clubs in all four divisions. After the SPL was formed, its clubs retained all of its commercial revenues except for a payment to the SFL. Teams received three points for a win and one point for a draw, no points were awarded for a loss. Teams were ranked by points, then goal difference. At the end of season, the club with the most points was crowned league champion. If points were equal, the difference and then goals scored determine the winner. Originally the SPL contained 10 clubs, but it subsequently enlarged to 12 for the 2000–01 season, the increase from 10 clubs to 12 was part of the deal offered to obtain approval from SFL member clubs. After the expansion to 12 clubs the SPL operated a split format and this was done to prevent the need for a 44-game schedule, based on playing each other four times. That format had used in the Scottish Premier Division, but was considered to be too high a number of games in a league season. A season, which runs from July until May, was divided into two phases, during the first phase, each club played three games against every other team, either once at home and twice away or vice versa. After this first phase of matches, by which all clubs had played 33 games, the league split into a top six. Each club then played a further five matches against the five teams in their own section
Scottish Football League Second Division
The Scottish Football League Second Division was the third tier of the Scottish football league system between 1975 and 2013. The Second Division was created in 1975, as part of a reconstruction of the Scottish Football League. Prior to 1975, the SFL had been split into two divisions, a fourth tier, known as the Third Division, was created in 1994. In 1998, the Premier Division clubs broke away from the SFL to form the Scottish Premier League, the Second Division continued as before, but it was now the second level of the SFL. In 2013, the SFL and SPL merged to form the Scottish Professional Football League, the SPFL named its third tier as Scottish League One, which effectively replaced the Second Division. From 1994 until 2013, the Second Division consisted of ten teams, from 1994 to 2006, the top two teams were promoted to the First Division and the bottom two were relegated to the Third Division. The bottom club was relegated to the Third Division and the 9th placed club entered an end of season play-off with the second, third. The teams played each other four times with three points for a victory and one point each for a drawn game, in the event of two teams finishing with the same number of points, the respective teams position is decided on goal difference. If goal difference is too, the team who has scored the most goals is placed higher. Most players in the Second Division were part-time professionals, B. ^ Team failed to gain promotion via play-offs 1. ^ Airdrie United lost in the play-offs, but were promoted due to Gretnas demotion to the Third Division, official Site Scottish Football League Second Division clubs locations