Timeline of Scottish football

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The first ever international football match was contested between Scotland and England.

Scotland was one of the earliest modern footballing nations, with Glasgow club Queen's Park early pioneers of the game throughout the UK. More clubs formed in Scotland, resulting in the commencement of the first major competition in 1873, the Scottish Cup, then the founding of the Scottish Football League in 1890. With the official sanctioning of professionalism, the Old Firm of Celtic and Rangers became dominant in Scotland, and remain so, although other clubs have enjoyed brief periods of success too.

The first officially recognised international football match took place between Scotland and England in 1872. Over time, Scotland began to play regularly against the other home nations too, and then on a yearly basis with the establishment of the British Home Championship in 1883. Scotland didn't compete against a nation from outside the British Isles until 1929 when they played Norway in Bergen, following which they began to contest regular friendly matches against other European sides. Scotland first competed in a major tournament when they qualified for the 1954 FIFA World Cup. They have qualified for a further seven World Cups since, although have exited at the group stage each time. Scotland have also qualified twice for the UEFA European Championships, in 1992 and 1996, although again failed to progress past the group stage either time.

The Scottish Football Association (SFA) were prominent in the administration of football since the early days of the game, and in 1882 agreed with the other home-nation associations on a uniform set of rules. They continue to play a role in this, with the SFA currently forming part of the International Football Association Board along with each of the other home-nation associations and four representatives from FIFA.


Pre-18601860s1870s1880s1890s1900s1910s1920s1930s1940s1950s1960s1970s1980s1990s2000s2010s

History[edit]

The game started to become popular in Scotland following the development in London in 1863 of the first ever rules of association football, established by The Football Association. Scottish football clubs started to be formed towards the end of the 1860s and 1870s,[1] notably Queen's Park who were early pioneers of the game throughout the UK.[2][3][4][5] The first officially recognised international football match took place in 1872 between Scotland and England at the West of Scotland Cricket Club's ground in Glasgow. The Scottish Football Association was formed in 1873, and the first official competition in Scotland commenced that same year, the Scottish Cup. The game in Scotland progressed further with the founding of the Scottish Football League in 1890, and the official sanctioning of professionalism in 1893.

Queens Park's insistence on remaining amateur saw their early prominence in Scottish football fade, and the Old Firm of Celtic and Rangers became the dominant clubs. Celtic won six successive league titles during the first decade of the 20th century, during which time they also became the first club to win the league and Scottish Cup in the same season (the "double"). They also won four successive titles the following decade.[6] In the inter-war years, Rangers won 14 of the 20 league titles competed for,[6] and a few years after the end of the Second World War were the first club to win all three major domestic competitions in the same season in Scotland (the "treble"). Both Old Firm clubs have since won nine successive league titles; Celtic from 1966–1974 and Rangers from 1989–1997. Rangers have won the league championship a total of 54 times, more national league titles than any other football club in the world.[7] Other clubs have enjoyed brief periods of success: Heart of Midlothian and Hibernian during the late 1940s and 1950s[8][9] and Aberdeen, and to a lesser extent Dundee United, in the early 1980s.[10]

Following the first international in 1872 between Scotland and England, over the next 50 years the national side played exclusively against the other three Home Nations – England, Wales and Ireland.[11] The British Home Championship was established in 1883, making these games competitive. Scotland won the first ever championship, and won outright on ten occasions up to the First World War and shared the title on a further 6 times with at least one other team.[12] Scotland played their first match outside the British Isles in 1929, beating Norway 7–3 in Bergen. Scotland then contested regular friendly matches against European opposition and enjoyed wins against Germany and France before losing to the Austrian "Wunderteam" and Italy in 1931.[11]

Scotland took part in their first major international tournament when they qualified for the 1954 FIFA World Cup in Switzerland, and then again in 1958 for the World Cup in Sweden, failing to progress from the first round in both tournaments. After a barren spell in the 1960s, Scotland qualified for the 1974 FIFA World Cup in West Germany, where the team was unbeaten but failed to progress due to inferior goal difference. The national side also qualified for the 1978 FIFA World Cup in Argentina, amidst unprecedented publicity and optimism.[13] They failed to win either of their first two games, and a win over the Netherlands wasn't enough to prevent another first round exit.[13] The national side qualified for the next three World Cups in 1982, 1986 and 1990, but also exited at the first round in each. Scotland qualified for the finals of UEFA European Championship for the first time in 1992, and repeated the feat for the 1996 Euros in England. A further major tournament was reached when they took part in the 1998 FIFA World Cup in France. Scotland have not qualified for a major tournament since then.

The Scottish Football Association (SFA) were prominent in the administration of football since the early days of the game. In 1882 they met up with other home-nation associations and agreed on a uniform set of rules for football. The home-nation associations went on to form the International Football Association Board (IFAB) to approve any changes to the rules. It was a proposal by the SFA that led to the offside rule being changed in 1925, where a player would now be onside if a minimum of two (instead of three) opposing players are between him and the goal line. IFAB continues to meet twice a year, once to decide on possible changes to the rules governing football and once to deliberate on its internal affairs. The organisation is now made up of representatives from the SFA, the other three home-nation associations, and the Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA). Each home-nation association has one vote and FIFA has four. IFAB deliberations must be approved by three-quarters of the vote, which translates to at least six votes. Thus, FIFA's approval is necessary for any IFAB decision, but FIFA alone cannot change the Laws of the Game — they need to be agreed by at least two of the home-nation members. As of 2016, all members must be present for a binding vote to proceed.[14]

Pre-1860[edit]

1824[edit]

1860s[edit]

1867[edit]

  • Scotland's oldest club in continuous existence and longest established club Queen's Park is formed.[17]
  • Queen's Park compile "The Rules of the Field", a set of rules based on the common Association rules of the time, but with notable changes to the offside rule.[2]

1868[edit]

  • Queen's Park play their first match against another club, the newly formed Glasgow-based team Thistle.[18]

1870s[edit]

The Scottish Cup trophy is the oldest trophy in association football.

1870[edit]

The Queen's Park team of 1874. The club were early pioneers of association football throughout the UK.

1872[edit]

  • Queen's Park become the first ever Scottish football team to participate in official competition when they play in the 1871–72 FA Cup semi-final against Wanderers, the match ends goalless. Queen's, however, can not afford to extend their stay long enough for the tie to be replayed and are forced to withdraw.[22]
  • Scotland and England draw 0–0, played at the West of Scotland Cricket Club. This is recognised by FIFA as the first official international match.[19]

1873[edit]

1874[edit]

  • Queen's Park defeat Clydesdale 2–0 to win the inaugural Scottish Cup.[23]

1876[edit]

1877[edit]

  • Vale of Leven win the Scottish Cup for the first time after beating Rangers 3–2 in a second replay – thereby becoming the first team other than Queen's Park to win the trophy.[23]

1880s[edit]

1881[edit]

Andrew Watson is widely considered to be the first black person to play football at international level.
  • Dr. John Smith becomes the first player to score a hat-trick in a Scottish Cup Final, netting all three of Queen's Park's goals in a 3–1 win over Dumbarton.[25] The final is a replay after the first match was won 2–1 by Queen's Park but declared void due to a protest from Dumbarton.[26]
  • Andrew Watson wins his first cap for Scotland, becoming what is widely considered to be the world's first black person to play football at international level.[27][28][29]
  • The first known women's match to be played under football association rules takes place at Easter Road. A team representing Scotland beat England 3–0, with Lily St Clare becoming the first ever recorded female goalscorer.[30]

1882[edit]

1883[edit]

1884[edit]

1885[edit]

  • Renton win the Scottish Cup for the first time, defeating Vale of Leven 3–1 in the 1885 Scottish Cup Final.[23]
  • Arbroath defeat Bon Accord 36–0 in the first round of the Scottish Cup, a record scoreline in a major competition in British football. Jock Petrie scores 13 goals in the game, the highest number of goals by a player in a single game in competitive British football.[37]

1886[edit]

1887[edit]

  • Hibernian win the Scottish Cup for the first time, defeating Dumbarton 2–1 in the 1887 Scottish Cup Final.[23]
  • The SFA instructs all its member clubs to withdraw from the FA Cup and to cease any further participation in that competition.[21]
  • Fairfield Govan defeat Edinburgh Woodburn 3–1 in the first Scottish Junior Cup final.[38]

1888[edit]

1889[edit]

1890s[edit]

1890[edit]

1891[edit]

1892[edit]

1893[edit]

1894[edit]

  • Rangers win the Scottish Cup for the first time, defeating Celtic 3–1 in the first cup final between the two teams who would become known as the Old Firm.[23]
  • Celtic build the first ever press box at a football stadium in Britain, located high up on the main stand at Celtic Park.[42][43]

1895[edit]

1899[edit]

  • Rangers win the league title after winning all 18 of their league matches for a perfect season.[44]

1900s[edit]

1902[edit]

The damage caused at Ibrox Park by the 1902 disaster, which resulted in the deaths of 25 people

1903[edit]

1904[edit]

1905[edit]

  • Celtic and Rangers finish the league level on 41 points, and a play-off at Hampden Park is arranged to decide the championship. Celtic win 2–1, clinching the first of what transpired to be six successive league titles.[46][47]

1907[edit]

  • Celtic win both the league title and the Scottish Cup in the same season, becoming the first club to win the double in Scotland.[40]

1909[edit]

1910s[edit]

1910[edit]

1913[edit]

1914[edit]

1917[edit]

  • Celtic complete a 62 match unbeaten run, a record in British football that stood for over 100 years.[51][52]

1920s[edit]

1920[edit]

  • The SFA, along with the other three home-nation associations, withdraw from FIFA, primarily due to issues over playing ex-enemy countries from the First World War.[53][54]

1921[edit]

  • Goal average is brought in by the Scottish League to separate teams tied on the same number of points.[21]

1922[edit]

1924[edit]

1925[edit]

  • Following a proposal by the SFA, the offside rule is changed: a player is now onside if a minimum of two (instead of three) opposing players are between him and the goal line.[56]

1926[edit]

1928[edit]

  • Scotland defeat England 5–1 at Wembley, during which Alex Jackson scores the first ever hat-trick at Wembley. The Scotland team become popularly known as the Wembley Wizards.[57]
  • The SFA, along with the other three home-nation associations, once again withdraw from FIFA, due to the home nations reluctance to cede ultimate authority on football matters to FIFA.[53]

1929[edit]

1930s[edit]

1931[edit]

1932[edit]

  • Motherwell win the league title for the first time.[6]
  • Willie MacFadyen scores 52 league goals for Motherwell, a record goals total for a single season in Scottish League history.[59]

1937[edit]

1939[edit]

  • Rangers defeat Celtic 2–1 in front of a crowd of 118,567 at Ibrox, a record attendance for a league match in Britain.[62]
  • Competitive football is suspended due to the outbreak of the Second World War in Europe, during the early stages of the 1939–40 season.[21]

1940s[edit]

1944[edit]

  • Scotland's 3–2 defeat at Hampden Park in the wartime international against England was watched by 133,000 fans, the largest attendance at any match in Britain during wartime.[63][64]

1946[edit]

1947[edit]

  • Rangers win the first League Cup, as they defeat Aberdeen 4–0 at Hampden Park to win the 1946–47 competition.[66]
  • Hampden Park hosts a friendly match between a UK representative team and a Rest of the World XI. The game is dubbed "Match of the Century", with the UK winning 6–1 in front of 135,000 spectators. The gate receipts of £35,000 are donated to FIFA to help assist with the financial losses incurred as a result of the Second World War.[65]
  • East Fife are the second winners of the League Cup, after defeating Falkirk 4–1 in the replayed final of the 1947–48 competition.[67]

1948[edit]

1949[edit]

  • Rangers win the league title, League Cup and the Scottish Cup in season 1948–49, thereby becoming the first club to win the domestic treble in Scotland.[66]

1950s[edit]

1950[edit]

1951[edit]

1953[edit]

1954[edit]

1955[edit]

1956[edit]

1957[edit]

1958[edit]

1960s[edit]

1960[edit]

1961[edit]

1962[edit]

  • Dundee win the league title for the first time.[6]

1963[edit]

1964[edit]

1965[edit]

  • Kilmarnock win the league title for the first time, defeating Heart of Midlothian 2–0 on the final day of the season to win the league on goal average ahead of Heart of Midlothian.[6]

1966[edit]

1967[edit]

Tommy Gemmell (pictured in 1971) scored one of the goals as Celtic won the 1967 European Cup Final.

1968[edit]

1970s[edit]

1970[edit]

1971[edit]

1972[edit]

1973[edit]

1974[edit]

1975[edit]

1977[edit]

1978[edit]

1979[edit]

  • Dundee United win the League Cup for the first time, defeating Aberdeen 3–0 in the replayed final.[67]

1980s[edit]

1980[edit]

  • Aberdeen win the league title, the first side outwith the Old Firm to do so since Kilmarnock in 1965.[6]
  • Celtic beat Rangers in the Scottish Cup Final. Thousands of fans from both sides take to the field afterwards and engage in a pitched battle with one another. The aftermath sees both clubs fined £20,000 and various legislation implemented, including the prohibition of the sale of alcohol at football matches in Scotland.[48][113]
  • Hibernian are the first Scottish club to install undersoil heating, at a cost of £60,000,[114] and which is used later in the season to enable their home game against Falkirk to be played despite the wintry weather conditions.[114][115]

1982[edit]

1983[edit]

1984[edit]

1985[edit]

1986[edit]

1987[edit]

1988[edit]

1989[edit]

1990s[edit]

1990[edit]

1991[edit]

1992[edit]

  • Having qualified for the first time, Scotland take part in the finals of the UEFA European Championship. They are knocked out at the group stage of UEFA Euro 1992, having taken two points (one win) from three matches.[136]
  • Rangers become the first British club to compete in the group stages of the revamped UEFA Champions League, where they went undefeated but eventually finished second in their group behind eventual (controversial) winners Marseille.[124][137]

1993[edit]

1994[edit]

Scotland (in blue) in action against the Netherlands at UEFA Euro 1996

1995[edit]

1996[edit]

The Tartan Army at the opening match of the 1998 FIFA World Cup, a tournament at which the Scots supporters won an award for good behaviour

1997[edit]

  • Rangers win their ninth league championship in a row, equalling the record set by Celtic.[134]

1998[edit]

1999[edit]

2000s[edit]

2000[edit]

2001[edit]

2002[edit]

Berti Vogts was appointed manager of the Scotland national team in 2002.

2003[edit]

2004[edit]

2005[edit]

  • Rangers win the league championship on the last day of the season, as Celtic concede two late goals against Motherwell.[158]
  • Rangers become the first Scottish club to progress from the group stages of the UEFA Champions League to the knockout phase of the tournament.[159]

2006[edit]

2007[edit]

2008[edit]

2009[edit]

2010s[edit]

2010[edit]

2011[edit]

  • Celtic manager Neil Lennon and two high-profile supporters of the club are sent parcel bombs. The device sent to Lennon is intercepted by the Royal Mail, whilst the two other devices are delivered but treated as suspicious packages and not opened.[171]

2012[edit]

2013[edit]

2014[edit]

2015[edit]

2016[edit]

2017[edit]

2018[edit]

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