Scotland has a rich and traditional footballing heritage. There is evidence of organised football being played in Scotland long before the early modern period and the advent of professionalism even going back to the 17th century.
Founded in 1873 Scotland has the second oldest national Football Association in the world (the SFA) behind the English FA. The trophy for the national cup, the Scottish FA Cup, is one of the oldest national sporting trophies still played for every season in the world. Clubs from the non league and junior levels compete every year with more famous club names.
Scotland and Scottish football clubs hold many records for football spectator attendances. Over 146,000 watched the 1937 Scottish Cup final at Hampden Park in Glasgow. The 1960 European Cup final between Real Madrid and Eintracht Frankfurt attracted over 127,621 fans to the sweeping terraces of the same stadium.
These days football is played across many levels in Scotland with a huge number of people participating at its lower levels. A ball is kicked around every weekend at professional, semi-professional, amateur, non league, senior and junior levels. Organised football is spread across all geographic areas of this small country from the Borders in the south to the islands of Shetland and Orkney in the extreme north.
Scotland’s diverse urban and rural landscape means that football cuts across numerous backdrops from post industrial decay at Greenock Morton to the dense forestation that surround many of the minor grounds in the Borders. Moreover, with its cold and seemingly endlessly dark winters, football watching can be a wet experience in Scotland for supporters – at least until the first glimpses of sunshine appear through the grey clouds in March.
You can see some of our images from the Scottish lower leagues here.