Scotland was one of the advance and earliest footballing nations. Football becomes popular in Scotland after its development in London in 1863, established by The Football Association. The first-ever rules of Association Football. Scottish football clubs were formed at the end of the 1860s and 1870s.
In 1867 Scotland found its first football club Queen’s Park. It is one of the oldest existing football club outside England. Previously, it was played in the English FA Cup, reaching the final twice.
In the late 1860s football rules in Scotland still permit the ball to be held by all the outfield players, as well as the goalkeeper, whereas in England only the keeper was permitted to handle the ball and then only in his own area. There were only about ten football clubs in Scotland till 1862.
In the late 1880s, a significant number of Scottish players participated in English football clubs. English football teams with Scottish players comprise Preston North End who fielded 8 Scots in one team and Liverpool Football Club, founded in 1892 with 11 Scots. In Scotland, the game remained, in theory anyway, an amateur game till 1893.
William McGregor from Perthshire, credited with the organization in 1888 of The Football League in England. This, in turn, modify Scottish football and the Scottish Football League that was formed in 1890. Dumbarton and Rangers were the combine champions of the first league season after they could not be separated on points and a play-off match was drawn 2-2. In 1893, the Scottish football league became officially professional in 1893.
Between 1872 and 1929, Scotland played matches versus other three Home nations—England, Wales, and Ireland. The British Home Championship started in 1884, making these games more competitive. The encounters against England were particularly savage.
Scotland dominated the early British Championships, winning or drawing matches with England. In 1894 football was introduced to Brazil by Charles William Miller, who was of both Scottish-English descent. He learned to play football while at Banister Court School in Southampton, England.
Scottish Football Champions
The Scottish football champions were the winners of the highest league in Scottish football, known as the Scottish Football League (SFL) from 1890 until 1998, the Scottish Premier League (SPL) from 1998 until 2013 and the Scottish Premiership thereafter.
The championship of Scottish football has been influenced by two Glasgow clubs, Celtic and Rangers. The two rivals, who are known as the “Old Firm”, have owned the majority of league titles. As of 2019, Rangers have won 54 to 55 and Celtic has won 50, while no other club has got the title on more than four occasions.
No club outside the Old Firm has won the title since the 1984–85 season when the Aberdeen side directed by the Alex Ferguson won the Premier Division. The current 35-year period of dominance by the Old Firm is a record; the previous longest streak was 28 years, between 1904 and 1931.
Scottish Professional Football League (SPFL):
It is the national men’s association football league in Scotland. Founded in June 2013, this league merges between the Scottish Premier League and the Scottish Football League. The Scottish Professional Football League has two domestic cup competitions:
- Scottish League Cup
- Scottish Challenge Cup
The Scottish Cup includes all the teams within the Scottish Professional Football League, however; the competition is run by the Scottish Football Association.
This league system is a series of generally unconnected leagues for Scottish football clubs. It is more complicated than many other national league systems. It consists of several completely separate systems of leagues and clubs, with junior football, senior football and beneath these Amateur and Welfare football.
There is one national league in senior football in Scotland. It has four divisions. There are some regional leagues as well. During 2024-15, the regular promotion or relegation between the two regional leagues was introduced.
The current record holders are Rangers that have 54 titles. Some clubs based in England play in the senior Scottish system; Berwick Rangers in the Lowland League and Tweed-mouth Rangers in the East of Scotland League. In Scottish leagues, a small number of English amateur clubs in the lowest levels of the game also compete.
Structure of Football in Scotland:
The structure of football in Scotland is among the most recognizable system in Europe. This league is very unique and has a plurality of adult male governing bodies. Improvement towards creating a pyramid football system began in 2008. In 2013, the Scottish Premier League clubs solidly agreed on the introduction of a pyramid structure to Scottish football along with the reintroduction of a single governing body for all 42 senior clubs.
‘Junior’ here is not the age of the players but the level of football played. There are three junior regions of the Scottish Football Association:
- West Region of 63 clubs
- East Region of 38 clubs
- North Region of 32 clubs
It is one of the national sports of Scotland as well as the most popular sport in the country. A long tradition of football is present in Scotland. Scotland has the second oldest national Football Association in the world that was founded in 1873.
Highland Football League:
It is a league of 18 clubs covering and covers the north, northeast and North West of Scotland.
Lowland Football League:
This league is a league of 16 clubs operating in the Scottish Lowlands.
In Scotland, there are a vast number of amateur footballers. These footballers play in leagues across the country of varying standards, usually confined to a specific localized geographic area. A lot of amateur clubs run teams in more than one of the amateur leagues. Some of the leagues are well known with a history of success and producing players who go on to a higher level. Club activities at the amateur level are coordinated by the Scottish Amateur Football Association.