Yes, it is true, we Scots, like many other nations in the world, are fitba daft. In Scots dialect that means we’re passionate about our football. It can take over your life.
There are a few countries who lay claim to the origins of football, including China, Greece and Italy, but the honour of being the country who introduced the first Football Association in the world goes to our neighbours, and rivals, (The Auld Enemy) England. 1863 was the year, and by 1880 Scotland, Wales and Ireland had followed suit, forming their own Football Associations. Nowadays of course, football is a worldwide sport.
The first ever international football match was between Scotland and England on 30th Nov 1872, a year before the Scottish Football Association was founded. Result was 0-0.
Who could ever have envisaged the impact football would have had on the world?
The popularity of the game over the years has not been overlooked by the TV companies, who have had a major influence on the game and continue to plough millions of pounds into producing lucrative TV deals. This television money has been great for the football clubs of all countries, but at the same time has widened the gap between the rich and the poor.
We are one of the countries who have suffered as a result, despite having two of the biggest clubs in the world, Celtic and Rangers, known as the ‘Old Firm’.
Anyway, enough of my ramblings on the financial state of football, let’s have a more serious look at the Scottish game and our fitba daft fans. Prior to the TV companies taking a hold on the game, Scottish football had enjoyed a moderate degree of success in Europe, considering we’re such a small country.
CELTIC FC were the first British team to win the European Cup, defeating the much-fancied Inter Milan 2-1 in Lisbon on 25th May 1967.
RANGERS FC won the European Cup Winners Cup in 1972 beating Dynamo Moscow 3-2 in Barcelona, eliminating Bayern Munich on the way.
ABERDEEN FC also won the European Cup Winners Cup in 1983, beating Spanish giants Real Madrid 2-1 against all the odds in Gothenburg.
It’s doubtful if these successes will ever be repeated given the lack of resources in the Scottish game, although both Celtic and Rangers have been beaten finalists in the UEFA Cup, in 2003 and 2008 respectively.
Celtic FC and Rangers FC are both based in Glasgow, and the ‘Old Firm’ derby is one of the most fiercely contested football matches in existence. This game is reckoned by many to be the most exciting and electrically charged derby game in the world.
On the downside, sectarianism has always been present between the supporters of both Celtc and Rangers, although it’s not been so much of an issue in recent years, thanks to the combined efforts of the Scottish Football Association, the football clubs themselves, and the majority of the fans. Other great derby games take place in our capital city, Edinburgh, between Heart of Midlothian (Hearts) and Hibernian, (Hibs) and in the North East of the country, between Aberdeen and Dundee United.
Our major league has four divisions, consisting of the Scottish Premiership, (12 teams) Championship, League 1, and League 2 (all with 10 teams), but for now I’ll introduce you only to our top flight Premiership League.
Scottish Premiership :
Aberdeen FC :
Pittodrie Stadium, Aberdeen, capacity : 22,199
Celtic FC :
Celtic Park, Glasgow, capacity : 60,838
Dundee FC :
Dens Park, Dundee, capacity : 11,850
Hamilton Academical FC :
New Douglas Park, Hamilton, capacity : 6,000
Heart of Midlothian FC FC :
Tynecastle Park, Edinburgh, capacity : 17,420
Inverness Caledonian Thistle FC :
Tulloch Stadium, Inverness, capacity : 7,500
Kilmarnock FC :
Rugby Park, Kilmarnock, capacity : 18,128
Motherwell FC :
Fir Park, Motherwell, capacity : 13,742
Partick Thistle FC :
Firhill Stadium, Glasgow, capacity : 10,887
Rangers FC :
Ibrox Stadium, Glasgow, capacity : 50,817
Ross County FC :
Victoria Park Stadium, Dingwall, capacity : 5,800
St Johnstone FC :
McDiarmid Park, Perth, capacity : 10,000
That’s the twelve teams that make up this years Premiership.
But nobody is more fitba daft than the Tartan Army …..
The ‘Tartan Army’ are the fabulous football fans who follow our national team all over the world, and who have won the hearts of the people in the countries they visit. Sure, they tend to drink too much whatever the result. We even celebrate defeat, and it’s just one long party from airport to airport, but violence has never been a problem, and they’ve won EUFA awards for being the friendliest fans at these tournaments.
Glorious failure is our speciality.
The Scotland national team have a fair record of qualification for the World Cup and the Euro Championships, in the past, but as yet have never quite managed to progress beyond the first group stages. Nevertheless, we continue to look on the bright side in a football sense, so who knows, maybe next time 🙂
Wee fitba daft Jimmy said to his wife Mary:
“I’m away to the World Cup Finals to watch Scotland”.
Mary asked : “How long is it on for”?
“About three weeks, said Jimmy”.
“So when will you be home then”?
“Jimmy thought for a moment and replied : “Sometime next week”!