Scottish football has a long and illustrious history, stretching back over a century. From the earliest organized teams in the late 1800s to the modern-day giants of the game, Scotland has produced some of the world's greatest footballers and teams. In this comprehensive timeline of Scottish football teams, we will take a look at how the game has evolved over the years and trace its remarkable journey from its humble beginnings to its current global success. From Queen's Park and Third Lanark in the 19th century to Rangers and Celtic in the 21st, we will explore the teams that have made Scotland one of the most successful countries in European football history.
We will examine their successes, failures and legacies, as well as the current landscape of Scottish football. With this timeline, you can discover the stories behind some of Scotland's most beloved teams and learn more about the nation's rich footballing heritage.
The history of Scottish footballdates back to the 19th century. The first official game in Scotland was played in 1872 between Queen's Park and Clydesdale. The earliest known professional football match in Scotland was held in 1874 between Partick and Clydesdale.
The first inter-city match was played in 1876 between Glasgow Rangers and Aberdeen. The first cup competition was established in 1880, and the Scottish Football League was established in 1890. The early years of the Scottish Football League saw a number of teams competing for the top spot. Aberdeen won the league title in 1904, followed by Rangers in 1911, and then Hearts in 1914. In 1922, Celtic became the first team to win four consecutive league titles.
The 1930s saw the emergence of several new teams, including Dundee United, Motherwell, and Dundee. The 1940s saw Rangers win three consecutive league titles. The 1950s saw Hearts win two consecutive titles, while Celtic dominated the 1960s with seven consecutive league titles. In 1967, Celtic became the first British team to win the European Cup.
The 1970s saw several new teams join the Scottish Football League, including St Mirren, Hibernian, and Airdrieonians. In 1975, Aberdeen won the league title for the first time since 1904. During this period, Rangers also had a successful spell, winning five consecutive titles between 1975 and 1980. The 1980s saw a resurgence in Scottish football with several clubs achieving success both domestically and in Europe. Aberdeen won a second European Cup Winners' Cup in 1983 and Celtic won the European Cup in 1987. In 1989, Rangers won their ninth league title in a row. The 1990s saw several more clubs joining the Scottish Football League, including Inverness Caledonian Thistle and Livingston.
In 1998, Rangers won their tenth consecutive title and went on to win nine successive titles between 1998 and 2008. During this period, Celtic also had a successful spell, winning six consecutive titles between 2001 and 2006. Today, Scotland is home to many successful football clubs competing at all levels of the game. The Scottish Premier League is the top division of professional football in Scotland, with clubs such as Celtic, Rangers, Aberdeen, Hibernian and Hearts all vying for the title each year. The lower leagues are also competitive, with teams such as Ross County and St Mirren fighting for promotion to the top flight.
Mid-Century SuccessesFrom 1922 to 1967, Scottish football teams had a period of immense success. During this time, several clubs achieved great success in both domestic and international competitions.
In 1922, the first Scottish football team to win the Scottish Cup was Queen's Park. This victory was followed by other teams such as Hibernian, Celtic, Rangers and Heart of Midlothian all winning the cup in the following years. In 1929, Rangers won the European Cup Winners' Cup, becoming the first British club to lift a European trophy. The following year, Celtic became the first British team to win the European Cup, which they followed up with a second victory in 1967. As well as success in Europe, Scottish teams also achieved success in domestic competitions.
In the period between 1922 and 1967, five different teams won the Scottish Football League Championship, with Rangers being the most successful with five titles. The mid-century period also saw Scottish teams achieve success in the Scottish Cup, with six different teams winning the cup between 1922 and 1967. During this period, Rangers, Celtic and Heart of Midlothian all achieved multiple successes, with each team winning the cup twice. The mid-century period was a golden era for Scottish football teams who enjoyed unprecedented success both domestically and internationally. It is a period that will be remembered fondly by fans of all Scottish football teams.
Early YearsThe roots of Scottish football stretch back to 1872, when the first official match was held in Glasgow.
This match between Queen's Park and Clydesdale marked the beginning of a new era in the sport. From then on, Scottish football teams began to emerge and develop, competing in local and regional leagues. In the early years, teams such as Hibernian, Rangers, and Celtic were formed. These teams quickly became some of the most popular and successful teams in Scotland. Their stadiums, such as Ibrox Stadium and Celtic Park, have become iconic landmarks.
Many of these stadiums are still in use today. Another notable team from this era was Heart of Midlothian. Founded in 1874, Hearts have enjoyed a long and successful history, even winning the Scottish Cup twice in the early 1900s. They remain one of the most popular teams in Scotland to this day. By the early 1900s, Scottish football had become a major force in the game. Teams such as Aberdeen, Dundee United, and Kilmarnock were beginning to make an impact on the domestic scene.
In 1922, the first ever Scottish Football League was established, which further strengthened the game.
Scottish football teams, early years, 1872, 1922, Queen's Park, Clydesdale, Hibernian, Rangers, Celtic, Ibrox Stadium, Celtic Park, Heart of Midlothian, Aberdeen, Dundee United, Kilmarnock, Scottish Football League
1990s & BeyondSince the 1990s, Scottish football has seen many changes. The game has evolved to become more professional and competitive at the highest level, with the introduction of the Scottish Premier League in 1998. This league replaced the previous Scottish Football League, and it saw the Rangers and Celtic clubs become dominant forces in Scotland. It also saw the introduction of a new set of clubs to the top tier, such as Inverness Caledonian Thistle, who were promoted to the Premier League in 2004. The 1990s also saw the growth of lower-tier clubs in Scotland, with the introduction of the Scottish Football League First Division. This division was made up of teams from smaller towns and cities in Scotland, and it soon became a popular division for teams to compete in.
Many of these clubs have since gone on to have success at the highest level of Scottish football, with clubs such as Hibernian and Aberdeen having won major honours in recent times. The 1990s also saw the introduction of television rights to Scottish football, with Sky Sports becoming a major broadcaster in the country. This allowed for increased coverage of Scottish football, and increased revenue for clubs. This has allowed them to invest more in their teams, and has seen Scottish football become more competitive on the European stage. The 1990s also saw a change in the way Scottish football is structured. The SPL was split into two divisions in 2000, with the top six sides competing in the SPL and the bottom six competing in the Scottish First Division.
This system has since been revised, and there are now four divisions in the top tier of Scottish football. This has allowed for more teams to compete at a higher level, and has led to an increase in competition. Overall, Scottish football has seen significant changes since the 1990s. The game is now more professional and competitive than ever before, with teams from all over Scotland now able to compete at a high level. The introduction of television rights has also seen increased revenues for clubs, allowing them to invest more in their teams and compete on a European stage.
1970s & 1980sThe 1970s and 1980s saw a number of teams join the Scottish Football League.
In 1970, Stirling Albion and East Stirlingshire were both added to the division. Two years later, in 1972, Dundee United and Dunfermline Athletic joined the league. These teams all featured regularly in the top division, with Dundee United reaching the European Cup semi-finals in 1984. In 1974, Clyde and Airdrieonians both joined the league and were in the top division until their relegation in the late 1980s. In 1975, Falkirk joined the league, and they have since been one of the most successful teams in Scotland, winning the Scottish Cup in 1997 and 2009. The 1980s saw two more teams join the league; Raith Rovers in 1979 and Hamilton Academical in 1985. Both teams have had varying levels of success, with Raith Rovers reaching the UEFA Cup quarter-finals in 1995 and Hamilton Academical winning promotion to the Scottish Premiership in 2008. From the earliest days of the Scottish Football Association in 1872 to the current success of teams like Celtic and Rangers, Scottish football has a proud history that continues to be celebrated by fans from around the world.
Teams like Aberdeen and Dundee United have also made their mark on the history of the game, winning a number of domestic and European competitions throughout the years. As Scottish football continues to evolve, the timeline of its teams, stadiums, and successes will remain an integral part of its past, present, and future.