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Makkin o the Modren Gemm

Atween 1867 an 1873 competeetion atween the Scots an Inglis brocht aboot the foondin o an associe o Scots fitba clubs for the first time. It wis in July 1867 that Queen's Park in Glesca becam the first constitute fitba club in Scotland. Fae the stert, Queen’s Park heidit-up ony dealings that Scots haed 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 offeecial national sqad. But this wis awa tae chenge efter a gallus Soothron steert up the Scots back hame:

 “...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.” [i]

On 30 November 1872 Queen’s Park played the FA o Ingland at the Wast o Scotland Cricket Club in whit wis the first offeecial Scotland-Ingland bawin. Aboot 4,000 fowk gaithert tae watch it. Here wis a gemm that didna jist intress sporty Scots but brocht them thegither in national speerit. A keppie cryed Robert Gairdner (1847-1887) that belanged Glesca wis the first Scotland captain, an ae letter o his, wrutten in 1868, is the auldest letter we ken o that’s sib til associe fitba an haes won throu til oor ain day. It is, sae tae speak, oor auldest relic o the modren gemm. The affcome o this bawin wis a gaitherin o echt clubs on 13 Mairch 1873 that foondit the Fitba Associe o Scotland (FAS).[ii]  The Scots Tassie wis stertit in 1874 an on Dezember 6 1882 the fitba associes o Ingland, Irland, Scotland an Wales forgaithert in Manchester tae see that the rules o the gemm wis conform in ilka kintra. At the same time the International Fitba Associe Buird wis set up tae hae owerance o the laws o the gemm. The FAS decidit in Mey 1887 that its memmers shuidna belang ony ither associe an sae Scots teams that took pairt in the Inglis FA haed tae demit fae hit. Fitba wisna as strang in the Borders whaur Rugby League, inbrocht fae Norland Ingland efter 1870, wis 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 wis gien a lift whan the first bawin unner constitute rules wis played in Innerness on 7 Mairch 1885.[iii]  The Heilan Fitba League itsel wis born on 4 Mey 1893. The Fitba League o Scotland (FLS) wis foondit 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.[iv]  Tho it wis Ingland that haed first constitute rules, the Scots wis affen aheid in feshin-on the rules an eiks o the gemm. For instance, the first train pit on for a bawin ony gait wis for the Scots Tassie Gemm o 1881 atween Dumbertan an Queen’s Park, an Glesca Celtic wis the first club tae bigg a press box at a fitba grund (at Celtic Park in 1894).

In thir years o the hinner 19t century Scotland haed some kenspeckle players that haes made the buiks o history. Ae cheil o this ilk is Andra Watson (1856-1921). It wis lang jaloused that Arthur Wharton in Ingland haed been the first black professional player, but in actual fact Andra Watson cam a bittie afore him. Watson wis born in Demerarie, Guyana, in Sooth Americae, the son o Scots sugar merchant cryed Peter Watson an a Guyana wife cryed Hannah Rose. Andra cam tae Scotland in the 1870’s, attendit the Versity o Glesca, an played fitba for Maxwell FC an Queen’s Park, an syne for Scotland in 1881-1882. He wis the Scotland captain in 1881. Anither black player in Scots history that we haed awmaist forgot is the Jamaican Gil Heron (1922-2008) that played for Celtic (1951-1952) an Third Lanrik (1952-1953).

As notit aforehaun, weemen haed played fitba as faur back as 1628 but in 1881 an ettle wis made at stertin aff a skeely league. In thon year the suffragette Helen Matthews o Stirlin, ithergaits kent as Mrs Graham, brocht thegither twa teams o suffragettes waled for Ingland an Scotland, an played an international gemm at Easter Road, Embra. Matthews’s  Scotland team comprehendit the warld’s earliest kent black wumman player, a lady cryed Carrie Boustead (ithergaits kent as Clara Berry). Hooanever, whan the second gemm wis played, on 16 Mey 1881 at Shawfield Park in Glesca, a rammie brak oot at the end, amang the men, ower the heid o weemen weirin breeks. Scotland baet Ingland 3-0.

Fae the 1860s onwards the war a stoushie ower the heid o stickit players turnin journeymen, an gettin pey fae clubs. A puckle rare players haed awready gane doun til Ingland wi the hecht o guid siller. Ingland noo haed the upper haun in allouin journeymen fae 1885, an it wisna lang afore the FAS haed tae dae the like in the howp its daddies wad bide at hame. In Mey 1893 the FAS alloued players tae turn journeymen an stert takkin a pey sae that bi the mid-1890s Scotland haed aboot 800 players markit up as journeymen amang 83 clubs.[v]  Bi 1913-1914 this haed grown tae 1,754 players amang 90 clubs. The war noo that mony clubs that a second diveesion wis stertit aff, in 1893, an a third wad be eikit in 1923. At the stert o the 1900s fitba wis faurben wi the wirking men o Scotland (an affa fitbawers wis drawn fae the collyers), even mair sae nor in Ingland whaur a mair middle cless follaein wis patent. The Scotland-Ingland bawin at Hampden in Aprile 1906 wis the first wi ower 100,000 comin alang tae see it. Noo the gemm wis growin furth o the Unitit Kinrik forby.  FIFA wis set up in Pairis in 1904 but the teams belangin the Breetish Isles regairdit the continentals as pittin nebs intae thair ain maiters, an takkin the pet bade awa. Hooanever, the war a growin yammer in baith Ingland an Scotland that continental fowk micht tak ower fitba, sae Ingland jyned FIFA in 1906. Scotland evitit the question, its guidars hummed and hawed a whilie mair, but endit up jynin an-aw in 1910. The FAS harled its feet anent sennin teams ootland but throu 1913-1914 a puckle teams sic as Celtic, Herts an Queen o the Sooth wis alloued tae gang-roond Denmark, Finland, Rooshie an Portingal. The weir o 1914-1918 wis a haundy excuse for the FAS no tae send a national sqad ootland an it wad turn doun sic offers richt throu til the end o the 1920s.


[i] Chris Nawrat an Steve Hutchings, The Sunday Times Illustrated History of Football, (London, 1998), p.8.

[ii] The Fitba Associe o Ingland wis foondit in 1863.

[iii] McAllister, Highland Football League, p.173.

[iv] The Fitba League o Ingland wis foondit in 1885 efter an owerture fae Weelum McGreigor - a Scot.

[v] Bob Crampsey, The Scottish Football League The First 100 Years, (Glasgow, 1990), p.28.