Scotland’s national football team dates back to the first international football match in 1872. Until the Second World War, Scotland mainly competed against other Home Nations in the British Home Championship, with the most fiercely contested. England. The Scottish Football Association, which controls the team, joined the international governing body FIFA in 1910, but seceded from FIFA in 1928, along with the other Home Nations. Scotland Football History.

YearAll Years

This meant that Scotland did not participate in 1930, 1934, or 1938 World Cups. The Home Nations rejoined FIFA after the Second World War and Scotland began to compete in international competitions thereafter. Scotland has since competed in eight World Cups and three European Championship tournaments but has never progressed beyond the first round.

Oldest National Football Team

Scotland and England are the oldest national football teams in the world. Teams representing the two sides first met at the Oval in five matches between 1870 and 1872. The two countries played their first official international football match on 30 November 1872 at Hamilton Crescent in Partick, Scotland. The match ended in a goalless draw.

All eleven players representing Scotland that day played for Glasgow amateur club Queen’s Park. Over the next forty years, Scotland played matches exclusively against the other three home nations—England, Wales, and Ireland. The British Home Championship began in 1883 making these games competitive. The matches against England were particularly tough and the rivalry developed quickly.

1st International match

The first international match against Wales took place on 25 March 1876 when the Scots won 4–0. Between 1872 and 1929, Scotland only played matches against the other home nations of England, Ireland and Wales. Initially, matches between the Home Nations were merely annual friendlies, but the introduction of the British Home Championship in 1884 provided competitive international football for the first time.

The lack of games against other opponents was largely due to the dominance of the home nations in football and the logistical problems of organizing international competitions in the days before air travel.

Scotland Football Team

During these early years, defeats were rare for Scotland, losing just two of their first 43 international matches. It was not until a 2-0 home defeat by Ireland in 1903 that Scotland lost a match to a team other than England. Scotland won 26 of the 51 British home championships held before World War II, sharing nine of those titles. A 7-2 defeat by the Scots in 1878 was England’s record defeat until 1954. Another particularly notable Scotland win against England was a 5–1 win against England at Wembley in 1928, which led to the team being named the Wembley Wizards.

However, the Scottish eleven never played together again in this match, and soon after in 1930 the SFA selected only domestic players due to a dispute with the English authorities over the release of players. Eight ‘Anglos’ were involved in the 1928 victory, but it would be a decade later before that many were involved in a match again.

FIFA World Cup

The SFA joined FIFA in 1910, but relations between FIFA and the Home Nations were strained. They all withdrew from FIFA in 1928 in a dispute over payments to amateur players. Scotland played their first match outside the British Isles in 1929, beating Norway 7–3 in Bergen. Scotland played more friendlies against continental opposition and enjoyed wins over Germany, the Netherlands, and France before being beaten 5–0 by Austria’s Wunderteam and 3–0 by Italy.

Due to withdrawal from FIFA, Scotland did not participate in the 1930 FIFA World Cup. Several Scottish-born players played for the United States, which reached the semifinals. They lost 6–1 to Argentina, with Jim Brown scoring the American goal. Scotland Football History.

1994 FIFA World Cup

Scotland faced a tough group to qualify for the 1994 FIFA World Cup, as they were drawn with Italy, Portugal, and Switzerland. And Scotland lost their opening match 3–1 in Switzerland, with Richard Gough sent off for deliberate handball. Scotland was playing away from their usual home stadium of Hampden Park as an all-seater stadium was being rebuilt and manage to hold goalless draws against both Italy and Portugal at Ibrox towards the end of 1992.

Malta’s moment of truth at Ibrox came when the team was thrash 5-0 by Portugal in Lisbon in April 1993. Ally McCoist broke his leg during the match, after which Roxburgh said: “a team died there”.

In 2015

In 2015, Scotland manager Gordon Strachan referred to the match when speaking of how it was transformative in Scottish football: “Funnily enough, I felt when Scotland was beat 5-0 by Portugal. 0 and Ally McCoist broke his leg. There was an uproar about quality. I said it at the time, but only after another 20 years have passed do I think I can influence things. Can, and performance director Brian McClure can influence things and SFA can influence things.” Scotland Football History.

Captain Richard Gow played his last match for the team when he was drop at Roxburgh. When Craig Brown was appoint manager, Gow said he wanted to play for Scotland again. But Brown refused to bring him back, ending his international career. Andy Roxburgh’s final match in charge was a 1–1 draw against Switzerland at Pittodrie in September 1993. Which mathematically ended their chances of qualifying for the World Cup. This was a significant moment in Scottish football history. As it meant that Scotland would miss out on the World Cup for the first time since 1970. For more details click here