10 Scottish Football Facts
Scottish football is full of random facts; from record scorings to record attendances; from goal scoring feats to bizarre people; there is no room for all of the interesting tidbits of facts about Scottish football. Instead, to whet your appetite, here are 10 random facts about Scottish football.
- Willie Cringan was a Scottish footballer who played between 1910 and 1925. He played for Sunderland, Celtic, Third Lanark, Motherwell and Inverness Thistle. Although he was a talented footballer, his talents crossed over into another sport. Cringan became Scottish Quoits Champion in 1926.
- The first Jamaican football player to ply his trade in Scotland was Gil Heron, who signed for Celtic in July 1951 after the Glasgow club had seen him play on a tour of the USA, while in Detroit. Gil Heron is the father of jazz legend Gil Scott-Heron.
- The only football player to have both been named European Footballer of the year and to have played for a Scottish club (not at the same time obviously) was George Best. Former Manchester United player, Best, signed for Hibs in 1979 – going on to make a handful of appearances for the Edinburgh club.
- There is constant chatter in Scotland these days about letting a foreign referee take charge of the Old Firm matches – it has already been done though. When Celtic and Rangers were tied together at the top of the table in season 1904-05 they had to play a play-off match to decide who would be champion. The game took place at neutral Hampden Park and was referred by and Englishman called Mr Kirkham.
- The first football ground to install dugouts was Pittodrie, home of Aberdeen. The move was made in the 1920’s because the club’s trainer felt he would get a better understanding of the players if he could see them from ground level. Pittodrie was also the venue of another first – it became the first all-seater stadium in Britain in 1978.
- Celtic striker Joe Craig received his first and only Scotland cap as a substitute in a 1977 match against Sweden. He came on the pitch and scored a goal with his first touch – he never touched the ball again in the match and never played for Scotland again.
- The two Scottish football teams who are closest together – in geographical terms – are Dundee and Dundee Utd. Their respective grounds, Dens Park and Tannadice, are only 100 yards apart. The closest teams in Europe are MTK-VM Budapest and BKV Elore, whose stadiums abut each other.
- The first Scottish football club to play in a European competition were Hibs who entered the European Cup in season 1955-56. They did themselves and Scotland proud by reaching the semi-finals, before losing to French club Stade de Reims.
- When the first ever Scotland V England football match was played, in 1872, the Scottish team were made up entirely of players from Queens Park. If having all the players from one team was odd enough, it was made more odd when one considers that all the Queens Park players were amateurs.
- The only Scottish football player to score 5 goals in one match for Scotland was Hughie Gallagher, who scored all 5 in a game against Northern Ireland in 1929. Dennis Law (against Northern Ireland, 1962 & against Norway, 1963) and Colin Stein (against Cyprus, 1969) came close to equalling that record but fell one goal short by only scoring 4 goals on those occasions.