Scottish Football League

The Scottish Football League is comprised of the Scottish First Division, the Scottish Second Division and the Scottish Third Division. This is an old league founded back in 1890 and until the Scottish Premier League was established in 1998 the Scottish Football League was the top-tier of Scottish football (soccer).

The Scottish Football League is sponsored by Scottish soft drinks manufacturer A.G.Barr and its formal name is therefore Irn-Bru after the popular Scottish drink Irn-Bru.

The history of the Scottish Football League

The Scottish Football League was created in 1890 and the first season of competition was 1890-91. The eleven clubs participating the this inaugural season were the following:

Renton was thrown out after five games since they broke the rules by playing a match against a professional football club. They were however welcomed back to the league again the following season.

At the end of the first season, Rangers and Dumbarton tied on points at the top. Back then there were no rules about using goal average or goal difference to break a tie, so the two teams played a play-off to settle the situation. Alas, the result of the play-off was a 2:2 draw and both teams were crowned winners of the season. Each team got to keep the trophy for six months.

The Second Division was established in 1893 with clubs previously belonging to the Scottish Football Alliance. Automatic promotion didn't start until 1922, so in these early days promotion depended on a ballot of clubs.

The Second Division was suspended during World War I, but the First Division kept on playing. The Second Division started again in 1921.

Finances and restructuring

In 2007, a review ordered by the Scottish Football League pointed out that the league was three times more expensive to run compared to equivalent English football leagues. The English Football Conference did for instance only employ four people to look after 68 clubs, while the Scottish Football League had 14 people for 30 clubs.

Scottish Premier League (SPL)

The Scottish Premier League (SPL) is the top-tier association football league in Scotland. In Scottish Gaelic, its name is Prìomh Lìog na h-Alba. The league is sponsored by the Clydesdale Bank. SPL is comprised of 12 teams and was formed in 1998.

A total of 18 clubs have participated in SPL since the premier season of 1998-99, but so far only two clubs have won the title: Celtic and Rangers. Celtic and Rangers are famous for their rivalry and are collectively referred to as “Old Firm”. Both teams are based in Glasgow, and Celtic's firs game ever, which took place in 1888, was against Rangers.

The Scottish Premier League season runs from July until May and consists of two parts. During the first part, each team meat every other team three times; either once at home and twice away or vice versa. With 12 teams, that means a total of 33 matches. For the second part of the season, the league is divided into 'top six' and 'bottom six'. Each team will now play five more matches; one against each team in their own section.

A win is worth three points, a draw is worth one point, and a loss is worth zero points. Points awarded during the first part of the SPL season are carried forward to the second phase. At the each of the season, the team with the most points is crowned champion. In case of a tie, goal difference is used, then goals scored.