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Football in Scotland

Football in Scotland

In Scotland, the game of "football" was already played in the 15th century. It was banned by the Football Act of 1424 for deviating from men's marital duties, and although it fell into disuse, it was not abolished until 1906. The sport was played by commoners as well as by royalty, including James VI and Mary, Queen of Scots. In Perth, apprentices promoted to master craftsman in the 16th century had to pay for banquets and football games.

There is evidence of schoolboys playing "football" ball games in Aberdeen in 1633 (some sources date it to 1636), which is noted as an early reference to what some consider to be passing the ball In the 1700s, football caused riots, and property and players are known to cause serious damage to both. Football in general had little reputation. Football was mainly played during festivals such as New Year's Day and Fasten'en. During these events, soccer was a "mass participation, low regulation event" . There were also separate games for men and women. The use of association football as a leisure sport began in the 1840s when the work schedule began to change with the introduction of the Saturday half-day work schedule. This quest for "rational recreation" was brought about by the temperance movement and by city governments and charities; by the late 1800s association football had become one of the major cultural activities among the male population of Western Scotland, both as players and spectators. With the opening of the railroads and easier access to games played in other cities, professional leagues became a reality; of the 37 football fields in existence in 1887, 20 were within 100 yards of a railroad station.

Scottish Football Association

The Scottish Football Association (SFA) is the principal organizing body of Scottish soccer.SFA members include Scottish clubs, affiliated national associations, and local associations. Founded in March 1873, it is the second oldest national soccer association in the world. The established clubs were Queens Park, Clydesdale, Vale of Leven, Dumbreck, Third Lanark, Eastern Granville, and Kilmarnock.

The SFA is responsible for the management of the Scottish national team, the annual Scottish Cup, and several other tasks important to the functioning of soccer in Scotland.


The professional leagues in Scotland are governed by the Scottish Professional Football League (SPFL), which consists of four leagues; at the bottom tier of the SPFL are the Scottish Highland Football League and the Scottish Lowland Football League belong to it. The other leagues, the East of Scotland League, South of Scotland League, West of Scotland League, and North Caledonian League, are considered "senior leagues" and are administered by the Scottish Football Association. Clubs in the Scottish Junior Football Association and the Scottish Amateur Football Association are run separately; for the 2014-15 season, a promotion and relegation system began operating between the SPFL and the Highland and Lowland Leagues.

Rangers' record attendance of 118,567 is a British record for the league.

European Competitions

Three Scottish clubs have won UEFA competitions. Celtic won the 1967 European Cup final and lost the 1970 European Cup final; the highest ever attendance at a UEFA competition match was the 1969-70 European Cup semi-final at Hampden Park, Scotland's national stadium The first ever UEFA Cup semifinal was played at Hampden Park in Scotland. That Cup semifinal between Celtic and Leeds United drew a record crowd of 136,505.

Rangers won the 1972 European Cup Winners' Cup final and reached the final of the same competition in 1961 and 1967, losing both times. The most recent European competition victory by a Scottish club was when Aberdeen won the 1983 European Cup Winners' Cup final and then the 1983 UEFA Super Cup.

National Teams

The Scottish national team is managed by the Scottish Football Association and represents Scotland in international soccer, having played England in the world's first international soccer match at Hamilton Crescent, Partick, Glasgow in 1872 Along with England, they are the longest-standing team in the world to play international soccer.

The majority of Scotland's home matches are played at Hampden Park in Glasgow, which opened in 1903. The Scottish teams have become famous for their support of expeditions, known as the Tartan Army, and have received awards from UEFA for a combination of cheering, friendliness, and philanthropy; the attendance of 149,415 at a 1937 match between Scotland and England at Hampden Park was It is also a European record.