Another Birthday for the SFA

Yesterday the second oldest national football association in the world celebrated its 145th anniversary – happy birthday to the Scottish Football Association.

In the week where Scotland’s latest national friendly squad was released, take a minute to reflect on Scotland’s footballing past. For it was Scotland that hosted the first ever global football match against England in 1872 – a goalless draw in front of four thousand fans. It was that wet day at Hampden that began the thought process of a football association within this great nation, and it has never looked back.

Scotland’s first football team in 1872

Queens Park FC – the oldest football club in Scotland – has the honour of playing at the home of Scottish football Hampden Park. When Queens Park advertised the formation of a football association within Scotland and on the 13th of March 1873, eight clubs formed the Scottish Football Association (SFA).

Since then the SFA has developed into the biggest footballing association in the world versus its nations populous. A Scottish FA spokesperson told us:

“Our responsibility is the same now as it was on Day One – to do our best to look after and improve Scottish football from grassroots to elite level. Great strides are being made to ensure that football really is a game for all in this country – regardless of ability, gender or any other perceived barrier. At national level, the hope is for our senior teams to once again be represented on the biggest stage and there is optimism that initiatives like the Performance Schools and Project Brave will help create a pipeline of talent that will achieve that.”

Although created by the culmination of club football teams, as the SFA alludes too it is of course national football that the SFA is best noted for.

Scotland have qualified for the FIFA World Cup on eight occasions and the UEFA European Championship twice, but have never progressed beyond the first group stage of a finals tournament. Despite this, the National Side has boasted some impressive feats and victories. EN4NEWS looked back in history to pinpoint these as well as speak to the people who remember them most.

England 2 Scotland 3, 1967

Scotland became ‘unofficial world champions’ in 1967

We do not need to tell you that Scotland and England have a passionate rivalry across all sports. If you know an Englishmen we also probably do not need to tell you that England won the World Cup in 1966 – so imagine Scotland beating that same team the following year to become unofficial world champions? Magical stuff.

Scotland 2-1 Czechoslovakia, 1973

Once trailing in the game a second half comeback helped Scotland secure its first World Cup finals qualification since 1958. Although a World Cup finals drought of just over a decade may seem like the norm to you and I, a packed Hampden Park let celebrations boil on to the pitch in relief at the end of this one.

Scotland 3-2 Netherlands, 1978

Scotland are no stranger to qualification disappointment, but if they ever do get to a World Cup, they are no stranger to finals disappointment either. The 1978 Argentina World Cup was no different. However, the already eliminated Scots put everything into their final game beating a Dutch side that would go on to play in that year’s World Cup final – including potentially Scotland’s greatest ever goal scored by Archie Gemmill. Where was that in the first two games? A magnificent achievement non-the-less.

France 0-1 Scotland, 2007

“What a goal. What a goal by McFadden. Magic from James McFadden. He’s a genius again for Scotland, they’ve been suckered in the Parc de France.”

A 30 yard screamer from James McFadden sent Scotland top of their qualifying group having won consecutive games against the 2006 beaten World Cup finalists France. Amazing.

Although the team is certainly not the most prestigious in the world, Scotland’s football fans are known throughout the world.

The Tartan Army notoriously follow the Scottish national team throughout the world. Two Glasgow businessmen Ian and Alan Adie worked together with Keith Lumsden and the Scottish Tartans Authority to create the Tartan Army’s very own Scottish check in 1997, since then the band of brotherhood has grown without a nation.

Scotland’s fans are well known throughout football

Tony Fitzpatrick – a member of the Tartan Army – told us his recollection of their notorious initiation. He said:

“When I think about Scottish football, my Tartan Army initiation was probably my proudest moment. I can’t give it all away but it involves a lot of drinking, specifically a lot of alcoholic drinking. Your attire has to be polished and in top condition. If you’re missing anything like a sporran or your Sgian-dubh you’re punished with a forfeit. Then a senior member says his ‘piece’ about you. It’s a very humbling moment.”

The Tartan Army are not just known for their religious following however. Having won numerous awards for their charitable work, the following created two charities within Scotland – The Tartan Army’s Children’s Charity and the Tartan Army Sunshine Appeal. Both have gained notoriety for their work with disadvantaged children.

It is hard to imagine Scotland without football. The magnificent journey of the national side and the fame of the tartan army, can only be possible because of the formation of the SFA. So I am sure you will join me in wishing them a very happy birthday from each and every one of us.

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