A Historie o the Gemm o Fitba in Scotland wi Dictionar o Terms

Dauvit Horsbroch

MillerFitba haes a lang historie in Scotland tho it wesna aye the gemm that aw bodie kens the day, played bi the ae rules, an for the ae reasons. Ordnar accoonts o the gemm tak tent o its historie fae the 1860s but daena say muckle o the centuries aforehaun. In medieval tymes, the gemm wes cryed doun as a distraction fae aircherie; a skeil o airms Scotland’s kings wantit tae uise agin onding bi Ingland. Whan the Refurmaition cam alang the playin o fitba wes regairdit bi the new kirk as a relic o Catholic fests an disrespectfae o the sabbath. In modren days fitba haes affen oxtered wi distrublances an fechtin. For aw that, maist fowk wad caw it a bonnie gemm fou o skeil an pass, rare tae watch, an gien tae rearin up characters.

In raikin the auld registers - an speirin at fowk - it wes suin patent that the Scots leid is weil tochert o fitba vocabular. For tae bigg a dictionar o Scots fitba terms aw kin kyn o buikies, fitba glaizies, an Scots dictionars, war gane throu. In the simmer o 1998 a letter wes pitten aff tae 56 fitba club in Scotland speirin for infurmaition. It wes weil seen (but no ower surpreisin) the’r fowk oot thare that daesna richtlie ken whit Scots is. Tak, bi wey o ensample, the repone fae ae bodie at St Mirren Fitba Club:

"While your interest is in presenting a Doric/Scotch appreciation of all things football, I would venture to suggest that such phraseology is more likely to be found in the Highlands rather than with us sassenachs!"1

Apairt fae the fact that nae Lawlan Scots speaker can ever be a ‘sassenach’2 it daes mesmerise a bodie that onie cheil wad regaird the Scots leid as belangin the Heilans. In speirin at clubs it wes patent that a puckle belanged til airts fouthie o terms, but didna ken it. The secretar for Arbroath FC wrate back tae say "This area has a strong dialect of its own but there are no words or phrases that relate to football."3 Still an on, ae bodie that belanged tae Farfar wrate back wi a curn terms fae the Angus airt.4 It isna muckle wunner that the feck o clubs aether wrate tae say thay cuidna help or clapt thair thoum on the letter. Efter aw, the haunlin o sic clubs is fitba, an no Scots. Houanever, here a Scots vocabular – unner the nebs o maist fowk – that is pairt o the ordnar identitie o hunners o thousans o Scots fowk gauin tae fitba. This is whit wey the terms shuid be brocht thegither an set furth.

Wappons, Weirs An Fitbaws 1424-1625

Fitba is first mentioned in Scotland in the 15t centurie. King Jeems I (rang 1406-37) wantit tae gie a lift til aircherie in his kinrik for tae hae skeilie airchers for the weirs. But fitba wes in the road o aircherie practice gettin. Sae the king, feart that his subjecks war lossin oot on trainin, brocht the Estates o Scotland thegither tae pass a puckle acts comprehendin a ban on fitba. At the pairlament hauden in Perth in Mey 1424 it wes inactit:

"ITEM it is statut and the king forbiddis þt na man play at þe fut ball vnder þe payne of iiij d to be raysit to þe lorde of þe lande als oft as he be tayntyt or to þe shiref of the land or his ministeris gif the lordis will nocht punisch sic trespassouris."5


The proveision that the shirraf an baillies shuid fyne fowk "...gif the lordis will nocht...” gars a bodie think that the lairds an nobles turnt a blin ee tae tenants playin the gemm. Atweil, the lords thairsels did affen play the gemm forby (see ablow). The fact that Jeems II (r. 1437-60) passed anither act in 1457 shaws that deif lugs war gien tae the first. The backgrun tae this wes the ootbrek o weir wi Ingland again, an Jeems II lichtit on the borders o the Suddron. The king wantit his subjecks tae haud wapponshaws the braid o the kinrik fower tyme in the year wi the ettle that thay wad become skeilie in aircherie as the commons in Ingland war:

Jeems I: the first Scots king tae cry doun fitba

"And at þe fut ball ande þe golf be vtterly cryit doune and nocht vsyt Ande at þe bowe makaris be maid at ilk paroch kirk a pair of buttis and schuting be vsyt ilk Sunday..." 6

Jeems III (r. 1460-88) - a king that isna quotit in feats o airms - fund that his ettles at peax wi Ingland didna win him freins at hame. Or lang he wes aw oot wi Ingland an passed an act gey near self an same as the twa that haed gane afore:

"ITEM Swa þat in defawt of þe said wapinschawyn our Soverane lordis leigis be nocht destitut of harnes quhen þai haf neid and at þe futbal & golf be abusit in tym cummyng & þe buttis maid vp & schuting vsit eftir þe tenor of þe act of parlyament." 7

The acts abuin shaw that fitba wes awreadie faurben wi monie fowk in Scotland in the 15t centurie an this comprehendit the nobles an the royal coort forby. Ilka destrick haed a yearlie bawin that taen place on Fastern’s Een (Shrove Tuesday) atween men o contrair ferm touns an villages or even amang thaim that shawed up on the day. The gemm lastit langer the fewer fowk played, an in thon days the players cuid affen lift the baw wi the hauns, but this gied wey in maist airts til a rule no allouin the baw tae be touched wi the haun efter it wes on the baw green or grun. In a puckle pairts, sic as the Borders or Caitnes, haun baw haes cairried on tae this day. The winners o the auld kin o bawin war thaim that hailed twyce efter twa or three rouns.8 A poyem wrutten aroun 1500 gies an idea o whit lyke the medieval bawin wes:

The Bewties of the Fute-Ball

Brissit brawnis and brokin banis,
Stride, discord and waistie wanis;
Crukit in eild, syne halt withal -
Thir are the bewties of the fute-ball 9

Jeems IV (r.1488-1513), lyke his forefowk, taen a parteiclar intress in weirfare an in the weys he cuid hain Scotland agin invasion fae Ingland, tho the tentie maun say that Flodden shawed Jeems wesna nae general. Jeems IV hissel wes a rare king wi monie an intress in medicine, the airts, langage, an sports tae, but whan it cam tae the maiter o makin weir, he follaed the auld acts. In 1491 the Estates convened in Embro an approvit anither decreet agin 'vnproffitable' fitba an gowf:

"ITEM...And attour that In na place of the Realme be vsit fut bawis gouff or vthir sic vnproffitable sporte bot for commoun gude & defence of the realme be hantit bowis schuting..."10

This tyme aroun onie bodie fund playin at fitba wes tae be fyned 11s bi the shiraff or baillies. But, face-aroun, Jeems hissel didna tak tent til his ain act becis the accompt o the Lord Heich Thesuarer shaws that in Aprile 1497 2s war "...giffin to Jame Dug to by fut ballis to the king."11 An the heidmaist subjecks o the king war daein muckle the same; the airchbishop o St Aundraes alloued the tounsfowk o the burgh tae mak uiss o the links in 1552 for "...golfe, futeball, shuting and all games." 12 Bi the airchbishop’s ain day, the auld acts agin fitba haed been alloued tae sleep. Ane reason for this wes the spreid o the uiss o gunpouder an the dwyne o the aircher.

Amang ither things, queen Mary (r. 1542-67) wes a follaer o fitba tae. Whan she retournt fae Fraunce in 1561 she alloued fitba at the royal coort an we hear o nae mair royal acts bannin the gemm. The’r guid evidence that the gemm wes played at Stirlin castle in her days. Appeirinlie, bawins war hauden in the castle coortyaird whaur "...the Queen would throw the ball from the balcony to start off football matches between royal staff or soldiers." 13

The baw wes stotit atween the players - baith sodgers o the garnison, her servans, an memmers o the coort (for the maist pairt the yung lairds an nobles). Whan Mary demitit the croun in 1567 she left a sma haun-steikit blether ahin in her ain private chaumer. It wes in uiss till aboot 1570, an than plankt. Historiens nou say that this isna juist the auldest fitba in Scotland alane, but the auldest in the hail warld. This wes confirmed bi John Burnett o the National Museum in Embro an the baw is nou ootset at the Smith Art Gallery in Stirlin. In 1568 Mary won awa til Ingland whaur in Juin she held coort in Cairel. Ane Inglisman cryed Knollys reportit that she tuik a dauner on the playin green whaur she watched twa bawins played atween twintie o her ain retinue for twa heur. Knollys notit "...the smalnes of theyr balle occasyonyng theyr fayrer playe..." 14

Whyle Mary wes awa in exile, her son Jamie VI (r. 1567-1625) wes makkit king bi the Protestant lords, an regents rang till he wes auld eneuch. In Julie 1572 the regent, John erle o Mar (d.1572), coft “...ane fute ball to the kingis majestie...” at the fair pryce o 8s. The king wes than sax years auld alane.15 Tho Jamie VI wes reared up richt releigious an a rare scholar, the’r nae evidence he wes agin fitba awthegither. But, in his wycelyke wurds til his son, in the buik Basilikon Doron (1597), he haed the follaein tae say:

"I thinke exercises of the boddie maist commendable to be used be a young prince, in sicc honest games or pastymes as maye further habilitie & mainteine health...for making his boddie abill & durabill for trauell quhilke is uerrie necessaire for a king, but from this compte I debarre all rumling uiolent exercises as the fitball meitter for laming nor making able the useris thairof..."16

Jamie VI wesna agin sport sae muckle as gemms that he regairdit ablow the dignitie o a douce king that wantit tae evyte skaith; an fitba wes ane.

The Kirk Dings Doun 1560-1700

Bonnie Fechters An Deidlie Feids

Lang syne it wes this ae gemm o fitba - rauch an sair - that wes common amang the nobles o Scotland. In thon days the war nae shin gairds or wycelyke rules an it wes affen the cause o blue keikers, skaithed hauchs or the sperk for auld feids. Sir Robert Gordon, in wrytin anent George Sinclair 4t erle o Caitnes (d.1582), sayed that this erle wad play at fitba efter his denner “...which was an excercise much in request among the Scots...” but less sae bi 1630.17 Whan George Gordon 5t erle o Huntly wes interteinin freins at Huntly castle in October 1576, the erle drappt deid aw a sudden in the mids o an efternuin bawin. It is thocht he dee’d fae a burstit vessel.18 In anither ensample, George Keith maister o Marischal scunnert the erle o Bothwell - his unfrein in a gemm in 1581. Ane Inglis envoy Robert Bowes wrate back tae the coort in Ingland that

"Some quarrel happened the other day betwixt Bothwell and the Master of Marishal, upon a stroke given at football on Bothwell’s leg by the master, after that the master had beforce received a sore fall by Bothwell..." 19

Becis o this scunner, the twa nobles war awa tae hae a duel, but the erle o Angus lat on tae the king an the duel wes pit a stop tae. Ane thochtie laird - Sir Paitrick Hume o Polwarth - tellt his wyfe in Mairch 1648 that he haedna wrutten aforehaun becis thair son "...Achter hurt himself so evill at football in Polwart upon Sunday that he was not able to sturre." Sic skaith forecasts the modren fitbawer streitchered awa.20

Forby the skaith at playin, fitba cuid be the cuiver for fechts, feids atween faimlies, or blatters atween Scots an Inglis. Aiblins the first ‘internaitional’ on record taen place in Mey 1599 whan sax memmer o the Airmstrang faimlie an sax Inglismen haed “...a football playing and after that a drynkyng hard at Bewcastle house...” juist ower the border in Ingland. On the gait hame the Scots gat wurd o an ambush but war readie an defait an taen 30 Inglis presoner.21 The year efter - in 1600 - Sir John Carmichael, wairden o the Middle Mairch o Scotland, wes killt bi the Airmstrangs on thair wey back fae anither gemm. The bawin - at least amang the Borders fowk - wes ane o the cuivers thay uised for tae convocate for reivin.

In Juin 1601 the Privie Cooncil in Embro heard that Weelum Cockburn o that ilk, an his brithers, while “...playand at the futeball...” wi Jeems Dauvitson o Burnerig an Jeems Dauvitson o Nodday, on the Lochtoun in the Mers, “...fell in contentioun and contraversie, ilk ane with utheris, and schot and dilaschit pistolettis and hacquebuttis...”. It wes reportit that Dauvit Cockburn haed shot at Jeems Dauvitson o Burnerig efter a waedaein. The Dauvitsons war denounced for no compearin.22 In anither cause afore the Cooncil, in 1611, Sir Tamas Hamiltoun o Byris an Sir Jeems Dooglas o Drumlanrig complained on Weelum Kirkpaitrick yunger o Kirkmichael an ithers that turnt up at Campbell baw green by Drumlanrig in Julie 1610 unner the “...pretext of the playing of a wood fute ball...” but bodin in fear o weir an in a “...bragging maner...” ettled tae stairt a fecht wi the lave.23

The accoonts o the burgh o Glesca shaw that atween 1573- 79 John Andro, a cordiner, wes peyit for sax orders o “...sax fut ballis...” 24 an on 31 Januar 1589/90 Johnne Neill, anither cordiner, wes makkit a burgess an freeman o Glesca “...quhais fienes ar remittit to him for furneissing yeirlie during his lyftyme vpoun Fastereinisewin of sex guid and sufficient fut ballis, or ellis tuentie schillingis as the price thairof.” 25 In anither instance, Alexander Cook wes servit heir tae the lans an tenements o his granfaither in the burgh o Banff in 1629 “...for yeirlie payment of tua footballs as few dewtie for the said tenement and yaird at the feast of Chrystismes...”.26 This uiss o fitba in the burghs on parteiclar halidays an fests wes spreid braid. Whan Chairles I (r. 1625-49) cam tae Scotland for tae be crount in 1633 fitba wes played atween the lords as pairt o the festivities. An fitba seems tae a been played in a whein scuils. Dauvit Wedderburn, maister o the Aiberdeen graimar scuil, set furth a Latin Vocabula in 1636 whaur he comprehendit passages on gemms sic as fitba an gowf.27

Nanetheless, the Kirk o Scotland meinisters didna hae muckle tyme for the gemm; the tradeition bein tae play on auld saunts’ days meant it wes regairdit as a ‘papish’ relic sib tae supersteition, an play on the sabbath wes leuked on as wantin respect. Sae on 20 December 1570 Peebles cooncil “...ordanis that thair be na playing at the fute ball on the Hie Gait...” at the fyne o 8s an the cuttin o the baw.28 In 1598, 1599 an Februar 1603, meinisters in Elgin cryed fitba doun fae the pulpits on the sabbath 29 an in Julie 1611 the Synod o Fife duin the same.30

The Kirk wes agin ‘papish’ gemms

On Yule day 1600 the chantor an subchantor o Elgin, alang wi ithers, war pullt up afore the kirk session for playin fitba but made on that thay didna ken the war acts agin it.31 In December 1618 the kirk session o Elgin descryved fitba as a “...superstitious observation of auld reitis...”.32 An the kirk fee’d bodies tae gae aroun an cairrie oot its will. Weelum Gadderer, kirk officiar in Elgin, gaed ben “...the toun with the bell intymating ilk persone quho salbe found in the Chanerie kirkyaird danceing or louping or futeballing...” in Mey 1628.33

The punishments for fowk catchit playin the gemm cuid be sair. In Januar 1627 Robert Kay in Elgin wes tae be wairdit for playin throu the toun 34 an in Julie 1630 George Purse, James McWatty, an Alexander Fumester “...for thair playing at the futeball on the Sabboth nicht at evein throw the calsay...” haed tae pey 6s 8d a heid.35 On 1 Mey 1682, the burgh cooncil o Banff banned fowk playin fitba on the streets wi a fyne o 40s.36 An the kirk haen owerance o the scuils tae. In Polwarth, Stirlinshire, in Februar 1654, the kirk elders war black affrontit that laddies, alang wi aulder younkers, haed played on the sabbath an askit the scuilmaister an parents tae “...restraine this abuse in time comming.”. Efterhin the session reportit bonnilie that the aulder younkers haed expresst thair wae for the faut.37

No Deid But Haudin Forrit 1700-1867

Bi the stairt o the 18t centurie the kirk session acts an burgh bylaws agin fitba war alloued tae sleep in a puckle airts. Bi the 1740s a Moderate pairtie haed arisen in the Kirk o Scotland that wesna sae fashed aboot the auld gemms an practices. Insteid Presbyterian meinisters ettled at ither means o dingin the gemm doun. Tak the Reverend Potter, meinister at Kippen, Stirlinshire (1700- 40) that fund it wes ordnar til his parochinars tae play fitba on the Sunday efternuin, juist furth o the village. Potter wesna juist for this but raither nor fleggin his flock he made on that he wantit tae tak pairt in the gemm an insistit for incawin God afore onie acteivitie. But his prayers lastit sae lang that he succeedit in pittin fowk aff the gemm awthegither.38 Anither meinister, Weelum Chaumer o Monzie, Perthshire (1691-1702) haed a sair fecht gettin his flock in the kirk becis thay haed forgaithered for a gemm. Insteid, Chaumer stairtit playin alang wi thaim an this brocht fowk intae the kirk efter. Chaumer wad seem tae be the first Kirk o Scotland meinister tae play fitba in fair daylicht.39 This mair tolerant haunlin even gied wey til a lykin for the sport. Ane Episcopal meinister, John Skinner o Monymusk, Aiberdeenshire (1742-1807), aiblins plenished the first modren description o fitba in Scotland whan he wrate the Monymusk Bawing. It is weil seen that he regairdit the “...hurry-burry...” a richt strauchle “...weel worth the seeing...” an in his first stanza pents a pictur o the players as thay stot the baw atween ane anither:

Like bumbees bizzing frae a byke, Whan hirds their riggins tirr; The swankies lap thro’ mire and syke, Wow, as their heads did birr! They yowff ’d the ba’ frae dyke tae dyke, Wi’ unco speed and virr, Some baith their shou’ders up did fyke, For blythness some did flirr Their teeth that day.

Lyke Jamie VI an ithers afore his day, Skinner kent fyne weil that fitba cuid be bluidie. In the Bawing he gars his reader dout that the pairish herds an fairmers taen a lickin:

Has ne’er in Monymusk been seen Sae mony weel-beft skins; Of a’ the ba’-men there was nane But had twa bleedy shins; 40

The fact that Skinner cuid fin an intress in fitba shaws a warmer braith on the sports o the ordnar fowk. An it wesna the men alane that played in thon days even tho it wes regairdit a man’s gemm. The meinister o Inneresk in the Lothians reportit in 1792 that the fish wyfes o the pairish - a warslin kin o weimen - haed taen the gemm up. He commentit:

"...Their amusements are of a masculine kind...on Shrove Tuesday there is a standing match at foot-ball, between the married and unmarried women, in which the former are always victors." 41

Ingauin the 19th centurie fitba wes played in pairishes the braid o Scotland but monie auld festivities that haed ance been sib tae the saunts’ days haed dee’d or war deein. The gemm itsel haed been shorn, sae tae speak. It wes aether the callants or the wirkin men - gin thay haed the tyme - that stotit a baw aboot. But the war nae leagues or tassies yet. In the graimar scuil o Kelsae the rector an maisters awairdit a fitba ilka Caunlemas (2 Februar) tae the laddie that gied the biggest donation. Ance lang syne the laddies haed gane aroun the toun wi a gildit baw on tap o a pole as pairt o the fest, but bi 1838 this haed dwyned awa. The meinister thocht that apairt fae braw simmer nichts whan a hantle prentices micht play on the knowes, the fowk o the pairish haedna muckle tyme “...by reason of the long hours which tradesmen must work in order to provide the means of subsistence...” tae play “...manly and healthy recreations...” sic as fitba.42 In twa-three airts the gemm wes seen as a distrublance yet. For ensample, the burgh o Kirkwall banned the gemm fae the streets at the dowp-en o 1826 becis it distrubled the peax o the toun, set burgesses on a prein heid, an wes a threit tae guids an geir. Fowk catchit playin war tae be liftit bi the burgh officiars.43 Still an on, fitba wes tae the fore in Perth in 1837 44 an it wes notit bi a local squeek that “...there’s they big gouts chasin’ that wee ba’ again...” in Forres in 1840.45 At the ae tyme a bawin wes played atween the mairrit an aesome men on Fastern’s Een in Scone; the gemm stairtit at twa in the efternuin an lowsed at sundoun. The ettle o the mairrit men wes tae get the baw in a dale but the aesome men haed tae douk it in the watter o Tay. Whitever syde duin it the maist tymes wes the winner.46

The Makkin O The Modren Gemm 1867 - 1918

Atween 1867 an 1873 competeition atween the Scots an Inglis brocht on the furmaition o an associe o Scots fitba clubs for the first tyme. It wes in Julie 1867 that Queen’s Park (in Glesca) becam the first constitute fitba club in Scotland. Fae the stairt, Queen’s Park heidit onie relationship wi teams sooth o the border. The war a ‘Scotland-Ingland’ gemm at Hamilton Crescent, Glesca in 1869 (nae brains baith) but as yet nae official naitional sqad. But this wes awa tae chynge whan the Suddron pit his neb in:

“...the secretary of the English FA, arranged a series of four matches between England and “Scotland” in London in 1870. England won three matches and drew one, but the Scots were not satisfied. They did not regard a team picked by an Englishman, composed of exiles, as truly representative.” 47

On 30 November 1872 Queen’s Park played the FA o Ingland at the Wast o Scotland cricket club in whit wes the first official Scotland-Ingland bawin. Aboot 4,000 fowk gaithered tae watch it: here wes a gemm that didna juist intress Scots but brocht thaim thegither in naitional speirit. The affcome o this bawin wes a gaitherin o echt clubs on 13 Mairch 1873 that founit the Fitba Association o Scotland (FAS).48 The Scots Tassie wes stairtit in 1874 an on December 6 1882 the fitba associations o Ingland, Irland, Scotland an Wales forgaithered in Manchister tae see that the rules o the gemm war conform in ilka kintra. At the ae tyme the Internaitional Fitba Association Buird wes set up tae hae owerance o the laws o the gemm. The FAS decydit in Mey 1887 that its memmers shuidna belang onie ither association an sae Scots teams that competit in the Inglis FA haed tae demit fae hit. Fitba wesna sae strang in the Borders whaur Rugbie League, inbrocht fae Norlan Ingland efter 1870, wes taen up an becam the heidmaist gemm o the airt. The Waster Heilans bade wi shinnie (camanachd) for the maist pairt but fitba in the airt wes gien a lift whan the first bawin unner constitute rules wes played in Innerness on 7 Mairch 1885.49 The Heilan Fitba League itsel wes born on 4 Mey 1893. The Fitba League o Scotland (FLS) wes founit in 1890 an played its first gemm agin the Fitba League o Ingland in 1892 follaed bi ane agin the Fitba League o Irland the year efter.50 Tho Ingland haed first constitute rules, the Scots war affen aheid in biggin up the gemm. For ensample, the first train pit on for a bawin onie gait wes for the Scots Tassie Gemm o 1881 atween Dumbarton an Queen’s Park, an Glesca Celtic war the first club tae bigg a press box at a fitba grun (at Celtic Park in 1894).

Fae the 1860s onwards the war a stoushie anent stickit players turnin journeymen, an gettin pey fae clubs. A puckle rare players haed awreadie gaen doun til Ingland wi the hecht o guid siller. Ingland nou haed the upper haun in allouin journeymen fae 1885, an it wesna lang afore the FAS haed tae dae the lyke in the howp its daddies wad byde at hame. In Mey 1893 the FAS alloued players tae turn journeymen an stairt takin a pey sae that bi the mid- 1890s Scotland haed aboot 800 players markt up as journeymen amang 83 clubs.51 Bi 1913-14 this haed grown tae 1,754 players amang 90 clubs. The war nou sae monie clubs that a saecon diveision wes stairtit aff, in 1893, an a thrid wad be eikit in 1923. At the heid o the 1900s fitba wes faurben wi the wirkin men o Scotland (an affa fitbawers war collyers), even mair sae nor in Ingland whaur a mair middle cless follaein wes patent. The Scotland- Ingland bawin at Hampden in Aprile 1906 wes the first wi ower 100,000 comin alang tae see it, an it wes growin furth o the Unitit Kinrik forby. FIFA wes set up in Pairis in 1904 but the teams belangin the Britain Isles regairdit the continentals as pittin nebs intae thair ain maiters, an bade awa. Houanever, Scotland an Ingland gat feart that continental fowk wad tak ower fitba sae Ingland jyned FIFA in 1906. Scotland evytit the quaistion a whylie mair but jyned in 1910. The FAS harled its feet anent sennin teams ootlan but throu 1913-14 a puckle teams sic as Celtic, Herts an Queen o the Sooth war alloued for tae gang roun Denmark, Finland, Roushie an Portingal. The weir o 1914-18 wes a rare excuse for the FAS no tae sen a naitional sqad ootlan an it wad turn doun offers richt till the dowp-en o the 1920s.

Hecht An Faw 1918 - 1975

Scotland stairtit efter the Muckle Weir bi follaein Ingland’s heidship in objectin tae Germanie an her allies bein in FIFA; in 1920 Scotland pullt oot in protest an bade oot till 1924.52 Thochts anent ither kintras led the FLS in 1921 tae allou that onie player, regairdless o caufgrun, cuid play for Scotland sae lang as thay haed proven Scots parentage. Scotland first played teams that didna belang tae the UK in 1929. In spyte o inveets tae play ootlan, the FAS didna tak onie up till this year; efter thay baet Ingland 1-0 in Aprile, the Scots gaed roun the north o Europe atween Mey-Juin. Thay baet Norroway 7-3 at Birren, Upslo XI 4-0 at Uplso, stuid peels wi Germanie 1-1 in Berlin, an baet the Netherlans 2-0. The first fremmit teams tae come tae Scotland war Austrik in December 1933 an Germanie in October 1936. Aw throu the 1920s an 1930s Scots clubs gaed roun ither ‘impire’ kintras sic as Austrailie, Canadae an Sooth Africae forby. Houanever, it is weil seen fae UK govrenment reports o the day that it wes mair intressit in the Ingland team forderin the ‘Britain’ political eimage an played doun the importance o Scotland even whan hits team wes the ae Britain team that wes daein weil ootlan.53

In thir days fitba in Scotland wes fair at its hecht conform til hou weil the naitional sqad wes daein, an hou monie fowk war comin alang tae bawins. On 17 Aprile 1937 149, 547 fowk watched Ingland get baet wi Scotland 3-1 at Hampden (an anither 10,000 brak doun the yetts an skailed the grun); this is the warld record for fowk at a bawin. In the ae month Celtic baet Aibderdeen 2-1 in the Scots Tassie Gemm afore a thrang o 144,303. This set the warld record for fowk watchin twa club sydes. Ilka team, in ilka airt, nou haed its ordnar follaein. In thae days the follaers o a fitba team belanged tae the kintra roun aboot. The war even bardies tae handsel the club an sqad. Ane poyem fae the 1930s, for ensample, speaks o the auld follaers (nou deid) o Hert o Midlothian. The fitba makar ‘Passing on the Cemetery of Dalry on a Match Day’ praises the team:

Rangers’ licht blue or Celtic’s green Would be a sicht for oor sair een But Herts alane oor herts could haud in the cauld cley that we are clad 54

The war fitba ballants wrutten for follaers tae sing fae the stauns tae kittle up thairsels an the sqads. Aiberdeen wes aye at the hert o a strang tradeition o ballant whaur bothie ballants sic as ‘Come Awa The Dons’ war weil kent at the en o the 1950s:

I’m an Aiberdeen supporter and I gang tae ilka game follow them for miles an’ miles fan they’re awa frae hame 55

Scotland evytit the Warld Tassie (anither continental novaition) for a guid whyle but did stairt tae tak pairt makin it tae the hinmaist roun for the first tyme in 1954 afore lossin 1-0 til Autsrik an takin a 7-0 gubbin aff Uruguay. In thon days the FAS wes makin a puckle chynges that wad bring fitba in Scotland tae mair or less the wey it is the day. For ensample, the Scots League Tassie wes stairtit aff in 1946, an in December 1955 floodlichts for bawins war alloued tho Hampden haedna nane biggit till 1961. O course, floodlicht gruns alloued fitba at nicht, an weekdays, efter the dargin day, an monie fowk walcomed this. The gledsome follaers o Aiberdeen sung:

And, noo Pittodrie’s floodlit Ye’ll see them day and nicht And in their nylon sarkies they mak a bonny sicht 56

The en o the 1960s wes a guid tyme for Scots fitba. The Scots win (3-2) ower Ingland - the warld champions - at Wembley on 15 Aprile 1967 - wes a rare bawin, an ane that follaers o Scots fitba aye mynd o. The Ingland team wes mair or less the ae sqad that baet Wast Germanie the year aforhaun. In this gemm Jim Baxter played at keepie-up whill jinkin the Inglis players; in ane blink he stopped an sut doun on the baw juist tae gar thaim greit. This wes follaed up whan Celtic baet Inter Milan 2-1 in Leisborn in Mey 1967 tae become the first Unitit Kinrik team tae win the European Tassie.

The Victorians wi thair nories o whit wes or wesna ‘proper’ leuked doun thair nebs at the thocht o weimen playin fitba tho a ‘British Ladies’ fitba club wes aroun in 1895. Tho fitba haed fairlie been a man’s gemm a curn pairishes sic as Inneresk (see abuin, 1792) haed seen weimen mak it thairs forby. The war a Leith Ladies team in 1938,57 but it wesna till the 1970s that a naitional sqad wes brocht thegither. In 1971 the Scots Weimen’s Fitba Association wes founit an the first official weimen’s internaitional wes played oot agin the Auld Inemie at Morton in 1973, but Scotland gat baet 3-2.

Tho fitba wes aye faurben wi monie fowk, the 1960s an 1970s seen the nummers o peyin hauns drappin aff a guid bittie. Atween 1960-1 an 1980-1 nummers drappt fae 3,987,788 tae 2,527,183.58 Mair an mair players war awa til Ingland whaur thay cuid lift better pey. On tap o this, invasions o gruns war mair common gettin - an sae war the fechts atween follaers. In seekin for mair siller the clubs brocht sponsorship intae the League gemm fae 1970, an in 1977 Hibernian war the first club tae hae adverteizin steikit tae thair players’ sarks. As the 1970s wure on the FLS an FAS stairtit tae leuk at new weys o fouterin wi the riggin o the gemm.

The modren thrang: in the 1960s an 1970s the nummers o peyin hauns stairtit drappin aff

A Bitter Bawin

For a lang whyle fitba in Scotland oxtered alang wi bitterness in releigion; truth be kent, it wes the yoke wi Irland that brocht it oot. Whan Hibernian FC wes founit in 1875 - bi the Earse communitie o Embro - the grunlaws o the club required that players be practisin Catholics. Becis Protestants war hauden oot Hibernian wesna alloued tae play competeitions in Scotland. Houanever, thay war inveetit as Celtic’s unfrein at the openin o Celtic Park in 1888. Hibernian taen a tummle an wes refounit in 1893; this tyme aroun the parteiclar heid anent players haein tae be Catholic wes dichtit. But the ‘big twa’ clubs that maistlie steered up releigious bitterness war Glesca Celtic an Glesca Reingers. Reingers in parteiclar wadna sign Catholics (leain Celtic its wale o the best o aether releigion). This policie fair taen aff efter the Belfast shipyaird Harland & Wolf opened in Govan in 1912 an brocht Ulster Protestants tae Glesca that taen-on Reingers as thair ain team.59 Afore lang baith clubs cam tae staun for Irland in Scotland. Follaers o Reingers waved Union flags, sung Rule Brittania an the Sash, an oxtered alang wi the Orangemen o Ulster. Follaers o Celtic flew the Republican tricolour an sung aboot Napper Tandy an Kevin Barry; naether syde kent muckle aboot Scotland, the kintra thay war born an reared in. The cultural an political weirs o Irland war focht ower an ower in the wast o Scotland throu fitba. In 1952 the war a muckle stramash at the Auld Firm Neerday gemm in Glesca an the Citie Chaumers askit the twa clubs no tae play that parteiclar day onie mair or tae flee flags that wad gar fowk tak the pet. Celtic in parteiclar war askit no tae flee the Republican flag o Irland (the flag o a fremmit state) an war awa tae get fyned an expelled bi the FAS. Houanever, the FAS grunlaws sayed naethin anent flags sae the FAS haed tae back doun. The releigious bitterness wes aye thare tae gie Scotland a shawin up in the een o the warld whanever the naition played at fitba. Ae cheil myndit Celtic player Jimmie Johnstone in the 1960s an 1970s an the wey follaers o the naitional sqad wad miscaw him whan he played for Scotland:

“There’ a guy down there playing every Saturday in green and white hoops and now he’s playing in a blue shirt, and they’re standing there abusing him.” 60

Whan Graeme Souness taen ower as player-manager o Glesca Reingers (1986-91) he intimatit tae the Press in Aprile 1986 that he wad sign a Catholic. This set the heather ableize amang the daylie blads, but, on 10 Julie 1989 Mo Johnston - a Catholic - signed for Reingers. As it turnt oot, anither Scots Catholic cryed Laurie Blyth haed played for Reingers throu 1950-51.61 It is weil seen that the bitterness in fitba isna sae strang as it ance wes, but whyles it kythes yet. A waedain atween Auld Firm players at a bawin in October 1987 led tae thair kythin in coort an peyin fynes. In 1999 Donald Finlay, the Preses Depute o Reingers demitit efter singin the Sash an ither bitter sangs efter Reingers baet Celtic in the Tassie Gemm, whill in 2000 follaers o Reingers war fleitcht weir orange sarks for the Tassie Gemm thon year.

Caisals, Clatter An Clink 1975 - 2002

Bi the dowp-en o the 1970s Scots follaers o fitba war regairdit as a paircel of bitch-fou, fechtin limmers bi the lave o the warld. In the (nou) notour bawin atween Scotland an Ingland at Wembley in 1977, Scotland baet the Auld Inemie 2-1 an the Scots follaers breinged the grun, teirin up the girss (for tae tak hame), an cawin doun the dale posts. The backgrun til aw this wes the passage o the hame raign bill for Scotland; fae the stairt o the 1970s Scots haed stairtit cryin doun God Save The Queen whan it wes played afore internaitionals at Hampden. Tho it harled its feet, the FAS gaed doun the gait o the rugbie team o Scotland bi nou playin Flouer o Scotland insteid. Scotland wes the ae kintra oot the Unitit Kinrik tae qualifee for the hinmaist gemms o the Warld Tassie in Argentinie, but gat baet bi Peru (3-1), drew wi Iran (1-1) an war thrawn oot efter a defait at the hauns o the Netherlans (3-2). Forby this, player Wullie Johnstone wes sent hame efter failyin a drogs test. The FAS nou recast the wey fitba wes run in Scotland an in 1975 a 10 team Heidmaist League wes stairtit, an the Heid and Saecon Diveisions nou haed 14 clubs ilk ane.

The mountin disorders o the 1960s an 1970s cam til a heid at the Tassie Gemm o 1980 whan follaers o Celtic an Reingers haed a muckle fecht. The grun haed tae be redd-awa bi mountit polis. The affcome o this occurent wes the Criminal Justice (Scotland) Act o 1980. This socht tae ban aw drink fae gruns an lat the polis mak searches o suspectit fowk. But, on tap o thon disorder, a new curn o fowk cryin thairsels fitba caisals - named efter the caisal claes that tippie callants o the day wure - kythed, appeirinlie for the first tyme at the Aiberdeen-Dundee Unitit gemm o 31 October 1981 at Pittodrie. Suin the ASC - Aberdeen Soccer Casuals - war born.62 Thir caisals gaed tae gemms, socht oot caisals follaein contrair teams, an focht wi thaim whaurever thay cuid. In ane speir-throu a Glesca Reingers caisal myndit a fecht agin Aiberdeen caisals in Glesca. His patent pleisur is fleysome:

"We were the first mob ever tae dae Aberdeen, right? An’ that wiz up at Dundas Street. It wiz like winnin’ the pools. We jist - Ah wiz thrown in a butcher’s shoap. Ah cracked ma heid that day. An’ we went doon that street jumpin’ up an doon. It wiz like winnin’ the pools or the cup-final." 63

The caisals in Scotland war a brekawa fae the auld kin o bitter fechts o the bygane but thoumed thair nebs at the 1980 Act. In the months efter this caisal curns stairtit furmin in ither touns in Scotland. Clubs sic as Celtic an Herts pit a stop tae the caisal curns furmin in thair ain yaird but as the years gaed by thay did kythe. The idea wesna lang in spreidin til Ingland whaur it wes suin mairrit tae the ae warst featur o modren Ingland - Suddron naitionalism. Ingland alane o the kintras o Europe nou shoudert an ill name - in parteiclar efter the deiths at the Heysel grun in Bruxells in Mey 1985 - tho faur-awa kintras sic as Italie haed its Ultràs. In the lang term this haed a guid affcome for Scots fitba becis Scots gauin ootlan gaed oot thair gait tae byde at peax an shaw that Scotland wes a different kintra fae Ingland; a wee tait o the unco guid, aiblins. It wes this differ wi Ingland that led UEFA tae gie the 5,000 Scots at the hinmaist gemms o the European Championship, in Swaden in 1992, the ‘fair play’ awaird. Even sae, fechts atween the Scots an Inglis led the the Scotland-Ingland bawin tae be drappt atween 1989 an 1996. Twa bodie haes commentit:

"The curious ambivalence, sometimes downright hostility, of Scotland towards England is so culturally and historically embedded...that this truly represents world football’s most intense ‘derby match’ at any level - civic, national or international." 64

In thae days - the 1980s - Aiberdeen wes at its hecht liftin the Scots Tassie three tyme in a raw (1982, 83 an 84), an won the European Tassie Winners’ Tassie efter thay baet Rael Madrid (‘Royal Madrill’) at Gottenberg in Swaden in 1983. Houanever, Aiberdeen’s (an Dundee Unitit’s) lowsin fae the strang grup o the Auld Firm didna last ower lang an bi 1991 Aiberdeen fund itsel on a slidderie brae. The Auld Firm haed a new wappon forby; fae 1986 Greme Souness, mair nor onie ither manager, stairtit coffin Inglismen an it wesna lang afore players fae faur-awa kintras stowed oot the bigger clubs. This contered the auld flaw o Scots til Ingland (an forder) but monie fowk is feart that this pattren leas less inlats for Scotland’s ain younkers tae brek intae the gemm.

The modren fitba grun: Ballast, the split new hame o Hamilton Accies 2001

Aw throu the 1990s Celtic an Reingers haes warsled for owerance o the Scots gemm, wi a taiglesome affcome. Baith nou thocht thay haed ower skailed Scotland an cuidna mak the siller thay war wantin atween its sma mairches. The FAS an FLS stairtit fouterin wi the riggin o the gemm for tae ludge the big teams mair couthie. In 1994 a new thrid diveision wes makkit an aw diveisions war taen doun tae ten teams. The FAS an FLS haed aye negotiatit richts an troke on behauf o the Heidmaist teams, but nou the teams war wantin tae dae it aw thair lane. Efter talks, the Heidmaist teams brak awa fae the SLS an furmit a Heidmaist League o Scotland (HLS) in 1997; the split new League stairtit in season 1998- 99. This League - modelled efter the Foremaist League o Ingland - nou negotiates its ain televeision richts wi BSkyB warth £24 million ower the fower year atween 1998-2002, an for season 2000-1 the League wes made up tae 12 teams. But, as Scots fitba first fittit the new centurie, it wes on a shouglie grun. The big teams threap on growth an siller an seek tae brek awa fae Scotland awthegither. The owertures afore fitba nou is an inlairged Muckle European League that cuid be makkit oot o 80 teams or mair, an Atlantic League o the heidmaist teams fae sma kintras banded thegither, or the Auld Firm jynin the Fitba League o Ingland. This last owerture haes cawed furth aw kin kyn o argie-bargie.

Glesca Celtic an Reingers is baith playin mair as a chancie gemm in wantin tae demit the Fitba league o Scotland an jyne Ingland’s insteid. It is a ploy that fair hauds Scotland’s auld fitba sang - an her naitionheid - gey chaep an gies a lift tae the argiment that thare shuid be the ae League o Britain alane. A bodie maun howp that Scotland’s naitional sqad can haud forrit efter the demission o Craig Broun (October 2001) an see that her auld sang is sung yet. 65

Scotland’s teams canna afford tae loss sicht o the baw in thir shouglie days

  1. Letter fae A. MacLachlan, ‘editor’, St Mirran FC, Paisley, 6 August 1998, tae D Horsbroch.
  2. Sassenach is a furm o the Gaelic Sasunach meanin ‘Saxon’ (Inglisman). The Concise Scots Dictionary, p.581, is wrang whan it states: “...Saxon, English; a non-Gaelic-speaking Lowlander, the Scots and English languages not being differentiated in Gaelic.” In fact, Scots wes cryed Beurla Ghallda (‘speak o the ootlins’) an Inglis, Beurla Sassanich (“Speak o the Saxons’). The uiss o Beurla for ‘Inglis’ is modren.
  3. Letter fae C. Kinnear, secretar, Arbroath FC, 7 August 1998, tae D. Horsbroch.
  4. Letter fae D. W. Potter, 19 August 1998, tae D. Horsbroch.
  5. The Acts of the Parliaments of Scotland, (House of Commons, 1845) , II, hauden at Perth 26 Mey 1424, p.5.
  6. Ilk, hauden at Embro 6 Mairch 1457/8, page 48.
  7. Ilk, hauden at Embro 6 Mey 1471, p.100.
  8. Charles Rodgers, Scotland Social and Domestic Memorials of Life and Manners in North Britain, (London,1869), p.187.
  9. Wrutten bi an unamed bodie.
  10. The Acts Of The Parliaments Of Scotland, II, hauden at Embro Aprile 1491, p.226
  11. Thomas Dickson (ed), Accounts Of The Lord High Treasurer Of Scotland, I 1473-1498, (Edinburgh, 1877), p.330.
  12. John Burnett an Grant Jarvie (eds), Sport, Scotland and the Scots, (East Linton, 2000), p.261.
  13. Press and Journal, Fryday Aprile 23 1999, p.2
  14. Joseph Bain (ed), Calendar of State Papers relating to Scotland and Mary Queen of Scots, II 1563-1569, (Edinburgh, 1900), p.436. Taen oot a letter fae Knollys til Inglis secretar Cecil Juin 15 1568.
  15. Charles T McInnes (ed), Accounts Of The Lord High Treasurer Of Scotland, XII 1566-1574, (Edinburgh, 1970), p.353.
  16. James Craigie (ed), The Basilikon Doron of King James VI, I Text, (Edinburgh and London, 1944), p.200.
  17. Sir Robert Gordon, A Genealogical History of the Earldom of Sutherland from its origin to the year 1630, (Edinburgh, 1813), p.180.
  18. The Marquess of Huntly, The Cock O’ the North, (London, 1935), p.48.
  19. William K Boyd (ed),Calendar of State Papers Relating to Scotland and Mary, VI 1581-1583, (Edinburgh, 1910), p.415.
  20. Historical Manuscripts Commission Fourteenth Report, Appendix Part III, (London, 1894), p.109.
  21. Joseph Bain (ed), The Border Papers: Calendar of Letters and Papers relating to the affairs of the Borders of England and Scotland, II 1595-1603, (Edinburgh, 1896), p.605
  22. David Masson (ed), Register Of the Privy Council Of Scotland, VI, (Edinburgh, 1884), p.262.
  23. Masson, Privy Council Of Scotland, IX, p.301.
  24. Scottish Burgh Record Society, Extracts From The Records Of The Burgh o Glasgow 1573-1642, (Glasgow, 1876), pp.451, 456, 459, 462, 455, 469.
  25. Ilk, p.149.
  26. William Cramond (ed), The Annals of Banff, I, (Aberdeen, 1891), p.63.
  27. Grant Jarvie an John Burnett (eds), Sport, Scotland And The Scots, (East Linton, 2000), p.112.
  28. Scottish Burgh Record Society, Charters and Documents Relating to the Burgh of Peebles with Extracts from the Records of the Burgh 1165-1710, (Edinburgh,1872), p.324.
  29. William Cramond, The Records Of Elgin 1234-1800, (Aberdeen, 1908), pp. 76, 108.
  30. Abbotsford Club, Ecclesiastical Records Selections From The Minutes Of The Synod of Fife 1611-1687, (Edinburgh, 1837), p.21.
  31. Cramond, Records of Elgin, p.86.
  32. Ilk, p.158.
  33. Ilk, p.204.
  34. Ilk, For this an ither instances in 1604,1605 an 1653 forby see pp.128,131, 198, p.215.
  35. Ilk, p.215.
  36. Cramond, The Annals of Banff, p.161.
  37. Historical Manuscripts Commission, p.94.
  38. William Chrystal, The Kingdom of Kippen Its History and Traditions, (Stirling, 1903), p.123.
  39. Accoont o the Pairish o Monzie bi Reverend John Reid Omond, Mey 1837, in New Statistical Account of Scotland, X Perth, (Edinburgh, 1845), p.268.
  40. Rodgers, Domestic Memorials,p.188.
  41. Accont o the Pairish o Inveresk in 1792 bi the Reverend Alexander Carlyle, in Donald J Withrington an Ian R Grant (eds), The Statistical Account of Scotland 1791-1799, II The Lothians, (EP Publishing, 1975), p.297.
  42. Accoont o the Pairish o Kelsae bi Reverend JM MacCulloch in 1838, in The New Statistical Account of Scotland, III Roxburgh, Peebles, Selkirk, (Edinburgh, 1845), pp.324-5.
  43. WR Mackintosh, Glimpses of Kirkwall and its People in The Olden Time, (Kirkwall, 1887), pp.277-78.
  44. Accoont o the pairishes o Perth, bi Reverend Jeems Miller, in 1837, see Ilk, X Perth, p.276.
  45. Bill McAllister, The History Of The Highland Football League 1893-1993 (Inverness, 1993), p.177
  46. Rodgers, Domestic Memorials, pp.234-44.
  47. Chris Nawrat an Steve Hutchings, The Sunday Times Illustrated History of Football, (London, 1998), p.8.
  48. The Fitba Association o Ingland wes founit in 1863.
  49. McAllister, Highland Football League, p.173.
  50. The Fitba League o Ingland wes founit in 1885 efter an owerture fae Weelum McGreigor - a Scot.
  51. Bob Crampsey, The Scottish Football League The First 100 Years, (Glasgow, 1990), p.28.
  52. Peter J Beck, Scoring For Britain: International Football And International Poltics 1900-1939, (London, 1999), p.83.
  53. Peter J Beck, Scoring For Britain, pp.117, 263.
  54. Crampsey, Scottish Football League, p.153.
  55. James Wright, The Bon Accord Colelction Of Bothy Ballads, (Glasgow, 1961), pp.22-23.
  56. Ilk, pp.22-23
  57. Jarvie an Burnett, Sport, Scotland And The Scots,p.13.
  58. Crampsey, Scottish Football League, p.289.
  59. B. Murray, The Old Firm In A New Age, (Edinburgh, 1998), pp.34-35.
  60. Raymond Boyle, ‘We are Celtic supportes...’ Questions of football and identity in modern Scotland’, in Richard Giullianotti, an John Williams (eds) Game Without Frontiers, Football, Identity and Modernity, (Aldershot, 1994), p.89.
  61. B Murray, The Old Firm In A New Age, (Edinburgh, 1998), p.107. Laurie’s faither haed been a Protestant.
  62. Richard Giulianotti, A Sociology of Scottish Football Fan Culture, (PhD tractate, Aiberdeen, 1996), p.214. The Aiberdeen caisals led the fecht at the Scotland-Ingland gemm at Hampden in 1985.
  63. Richard Giulianotti, Norman Bonney an Mike Hepworth (eds), Football, Violence and Social Identity, (London an New York, 1994), p.115.
  64. Gerry PT Finn an Richard Giulianotti, ‘Scottish Fans, Not English Hooligans! Scots, Scottishness and Scottish Football’, in Lallans for lairnin 34 Adam Brown (ed), Fanatics: Power, Identity & Fandom in Football, (London, 1998), p.190.
  65. The uiss o the puckle fitba photies in this airticle wes permittit bi the Daily Record an Sunday Mail Leimitit / Pictures used with the permission of the Daily Record and Sunday Mail Limited.