Scottish Football Historical Archive


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The War Years, including The Victory Seasons, 1914-1919 and 1939-1946

Although the Great War began soon after the start of the season, the Scottish League continued with its First and Second Division championships as normal. The Scottish FA also ran its Scottish Qualifying Cup competition, but by the turn of the year had taken the decision to abandon the Scottish Cup entirely. With attendances dwindling and adverse public reaction, the Scottish League decided on reducing players’ wages and suspending the Second Division, which had been losing money hand over fist. In its place, two regional leagues-Western and Eastern- were created with the help of a number of non-League clubs.

As the war dragged on there was a number of proposals put to the League. One was to cut the duration of games back to 80 minutes during December and January was rejected by just one vote. The other was to ask the League’s three northern clubs, Aberdeen, Dundee and Raith Rovers, to stand down, although they would retain full voting rights and representation at League meetings. They did so in June 1917 and Clydebank, who were formed only in 1914, were voted in to replace them. The suspended clubs eventually returned in 1919. A likewise attempt at removing Ayr United and Falkirk in 1918 was however voted down.

Unlike during the 1939-1945 war, the Scottish League championship was official, and saw Celtic win four titles in a row before Rangers broke the run in 1918 thanks to the Ibrox side being able to call upon the majority of their players. Some other clubs were not so fortunate, and Heart of Midlothian had to scratch from a League fixture in April 1916 when they couldn’t field a team against Morton – the only occasion in which a First Division season fixture was left unplayed. Due to the end of season fixture congestion that always occurred, a number of clubs played two games in a day, with the famous example of Celtic winning both of theirs -

15 April 1916
Celtic 6 Raith Rovers 0
Motherwell 0 Ayr United 3
Motherwell 1 Celtic 3
14 April 1917
Clyde 2 St Mirren 1
Third Lanark 1 Clyde 0
21 April 1917
Partick Thistle 0 Queen’s Park 2
Heart of Midlothian 3 Raith Rovers 1
Raith Rovers 1 Queen’s Park 0 


 Scottish League 1914-1919 Eastern League and Eastern Cup 1914-1918
 Scottish League 1939-40 West of Scotland League, Cup and Inter County League 1914-1919
 Southern League and League Cup 1940-1946 Victory Cup 1919 and 1945-46
 North Eastern League and Cup 1941-1945 War Shield (WWI)
 Supplementary Cup 1945-46 Summer Cup

Winners of the Principal Competitions

Scottish League Scottish
Qualifying Cup
Second Division        
1914-15 Celtic St Bernard's Cowdenbeath        
    Eastern League Eastern Cup West of Scotland League

Western Cup
Inter County League *

1915-16 Celtic   Armadale Armadale Vale of Leven no competition  
1916-17 Celtic   Cowdenbeath incomplete Clydebank Stevenston United
Dumbarton Harp *  
1917-18 Rangers Victory Cup Cowdenbeath Dundee/Dundee United shared Albion Rovers Dumbarton Harp  
1918-19 Celtic St Mirren no competition no competition Dumbarton Harp Dumbarton Harp  
  War Cup          
1939-40 Rangers  Rangers          
Southern League League Cup Summer Cup North Eastern League 1st Series North Eastern League 2nd Series North Eastern League Cup 1st Series North Eastern League Cup 2nd Series
1940-41 Rangers Rangers Hibernian no competition no competition no competition no competition
1941-42 Rangers Rangers Rangers Rangers 'A' Aberdeen Aberdeen Dundee United
1942-43 Rangers Rangers St Mirren Aberdeen Aberdeen Aberdeen Aberdeen
1943-44 Rangers Hibernian Motherwell Raith Rovers Aberdeen Rangers 'A' Rangers 'A'
1944-45 Rangers Rangers Partick Thistle Dundee Aberdeen Aberdeen Aberdeen
Victory Cup Supplementary Cup      
1945-46 Rangers Aberdeen Rangers Airdrieonians