|Headquarters||Hampden Park, Glasgow|
|Chief Operating Officer||Alex McDowall|
The Scottish Junior Football Association (SJFA) is an affiliated national association of the Scottish Football Association and is the governing body for the junior grade of football in Scotland. The term "junior" refers to the level of football played, not the age of the players.The closest equivalent terminology would be non-League football in England, the difference being that junior football in Scotland is not similarly integrated into its football league system. Founded in 1886, the SJFA is responsible for disciplinary matters within the grade, certain player registration procedures and organising the annual Scottish Junior Cup. Other league and cup competitions are organised by three regional committees. The association headquarters are at Hampden Park, Glasgow, which is Scotland's national football stadium. There was an earlier Scottish Junior FA, which was founded in Glasgow in October 1880. This body also ran a Scottish Junior Cup competition during 1880–81 season but appears to have disbanded at the end of that season.
The SJFA was formed in Glasgow on 2 October 1886and the first season's Junior Cup saw 39 clubs take part. Junior football had existed since the early 1880s, initially as separate local associations across Scotland for clubs not in membership of the SFA. This new national association acted as an umbrella for these local junior associations, as well as establishing the Scottish Junior Cup, a national cup competition. The first three winners of the Scottish Junior Cup all joined the SFA and stepped up to senior level. Gradually, a number of junior leagues grew in strength — particularly in Glasgow, where leading clubs drew large crowds. The Glasgow Junior FA, having seen a number of its proposals rejected at SJFA meetings, seceded from the SJFA in 1907 but returned a year later. Further disputes occurred in 1922 over "poaching" clubs and, in 1927, the GJFA was instrumental in the Intermediate dispute which split the SJFA for four seasons. The record number of clubs to enter the Junior Cup was 412 in 1922–23.
The local associations continued to run their leagues until 1968, when the SJFA instituted major reforms. This first phase of regionalisation removed the need for the many local associations, replacing them instead with six regional committees. These six regions — Ayrshire, Central, East, Fife, Tayside and North — still exist, to a certain extent, as divisions in the national league structure and as operators of certain cup competitions.
The last major league reform took place in 2002, with the six regions "merging" to create a three-pronged league setup (see "Organisation and regions").
From the 2007–08 season, four Junior sides have been able to qualify for the Scottish Cup. The four teams are the three Superleague winners (West, East and North) and the Scottish Junior Cup winners, all from the previous season.In the 2015–16 season, Linlithgow Rose became the first junior team to reach the last 16 of the Scottish Cup after beating Forfar Athletic. (see "Juniors in the Scottish Cup").
In 2011, the Scottish Football Association created two new operational boards, Professional and Non-Professional, to provide more focused governance in these differing areas of the game. Junior football is represented on the Non-Professional Game Board alongside other organisations such as the East of Scotland Football League, South of Scotland Football League and Scottish Amateur Football Association.
The term "junior" does not relate to the age of players. Football for young players is generally known as "Youth" (up to Under-19) or "Juvenile" (which is to Under-21 level) football. In the late 19th century, membership of the SFA conferred "senior" status on a club and the junior grade developed outside the SFA framework. Today, the senior grade of football in Scotland is played in the Scottish Professional Football League (until 2013 divided into the Scottish Premier League and the Scottish Football League), as well as the five senior non-leagues: the Highland Football League, the Lowland Football League, the East of Scotland Football League, the South of Scotland Football League and the West of Scotland Football League. Over time, as various local football associations and leagues — both junior and senior — have risen in strength, or in some cases disappeared completely, Scottish football developed its current pattern with either junior or senior non-leagues taking precedence in various parts of the country with some occasional overlap. Nowadays, membership of the SJFA automatically confers on a club registered membership of the SFA; however, junior and senior non-league clubs still play in separate competitions.
Despite the lesser media coverage the juniors get, many of the club sides are fairly popular, and some of the bigger games (such as the local derbies between Arthurlie and Pollok, and Cumnock Juniors vs. Auchinleck Talbot) can attract attendances in the thousands. Crowds were far bigger in the past (76,000 for the Junior Cup Final in 1951, with nearly 90,000 watching the semi finals (including a replay) compared to the level of support attracted now.
The main league structure is organised on a geographical basis, with the 63 member clubs being split into two regions: East Region (30 clubs) and North Region (33 clubs). 53 previous West Region clubs still keep memberships of SJFA, although compete at West of Scotland League.
Arbroath Victoria, Armadale Thistle, Bathgate Thistle, Blairgowrie, Bo'ness United, Brechin Victoria, Broughty Athletic, Carnoustie Panmure, Coupar Angus, Downfield, Dundee East Craigie, Dundee North End, Dundee Violet, Fauldhouse United, Forfar United, Forfar West End, Harthill Roya, Kirriemuir Thistle, Linlithgow Rose Community, Livingston United, Lochee Harp, Lochee United, Pumpherston, Sauchie Juniors Community, Scone Thistle, Stoneyburn, Syngenta, Tayport, West Calder United, Whitburn
Aberdeen East End, Aberdeen University, Banchory St Ternan, Banks o' Dee [SFA] , Bridge of Don Thistle, Buchanhaven Hearts, Buckie Rovers, Burghead Thistle, Colony Park, Cruden Bay, Culter, Deveronside, Dufftown, Dyce, Ellon United, Forres Thistle, Fraserburgh United, Glentanar, Hall Russell United, Hermes, Islavale, Longside, Maud, Montrose Roselea, Nairn St Ninian, New Elgin, Newmachar, Rothie Rovers, Spey Valley United, Stonehaven, Stoneywood Parkvale, Sunnybank, Whitehills
There are two regional junior league systems.
There was previously a West Region league system which contained 63 clubs at the end of the 2019–20 season, prior to its members leaving the Juniors to join a new West of Scotland Football League in the senior pyramid.53 of those clubs kept their membership of the SJFA in order to enter the Scottish Junior Cup. A similar move had also greatly reduced the East Region's membership two years earlier, when 25 clubs joined the East of Scotland Football League, with a further 10 clubs making the move over the next two years.
Pressure to create more competitive leagues and a higher number of "big games" caused a rationalisation to three main regions in 2002, replacing the previous setup of six smaller district leagues (Ayrshire, Central, East, Fife, North and Tayside).
|North Region (NRJFA)||East Region (ERSJFA)|
(McBookie.com NRJFA West)
8 clubs playing 14 games
|Banff and Buchan|
(McBookie.com NRJFA Banff and Buchan)
8 clubs playing 14 games
(McBookie.com NRJFA Aberdeen North)
7 clubs playing 12 games
(McBookie.com NRJFA Aberdeen South)
7 clubs playing 12 games
| East Super League North |
(McBookie.com East Super League North)
17 clubs playing 16 games
| East Super League South |
(McBookie.com East Super League South)
13 clubs playing 24 games
As well as the local leagues, there are a number of local cup competitions competed for; however, the biggest competition is the Scottish Junior Cup, which every junior club competes for annually, with the final generally held at the end of May. This cup was established in 1886. The final broadcast live on BBC Alba. The cup's sponsor for 18 years, until the start of the 2006–07 season, was OVD Demerara Rum, replaced at the semi final stage of the 2006–07 competition by Scottish coach operator Citylink. Emirates Airlines sponsored the tournament from 2009–2013and ETHX Energy was the sponsor for 2015–16. The current tournament sponsor is Macron.
The first attempt by the Scottish Football Association to allow Junior representation in the Scottish Cup was voted down in June 2005.In June 2007 however, the SFA did approve changes to the way that all non-league clubs entered the Scottish Cup. The North and South Qualifying Cups for full and associate member clubs in non-league football, which had both sent their four semi-finalists into the main competition, were scrapped and all these clubs now qualified automatically for the first round. In addition, the winners of the East of Scotland Football League, South of Scotland Football League and top two clubs in the Highland Football League all received a bye to the second round, even if that club was only a registered member of the SFA.
Further to this move, allowing registered member clubs to qualify for the Scottish Cup for the first time, it was announced that the winners of the Scottish Junior Cup, North Superleague, East Superleague and West of Scotland Super League Premier Division would qualify for the first round. [ citation needed ] Girvan themselves were awarded a National Club License in June 2016.This process has continued with the winners of the Scottish Amateur Cup qualifying for the first round from 2015 onwards. Girvan still qualified for the Scottish Cup from 2007 as a result of their historic full membership of the SFA. In 2014, they were joined as annual entrants to the competition by Banks O' Dee and Linlithgow Rose who achieved the SFA National Club Licensing criteria.
If a Junior club does a "double" by winning their respective Superleague championship and the Junior Cup, runners-up do not qualify and the Juniors are only represented by three qualifying entrants. This occurred in the 2007–08 Scottish Cup which was the first competition since the changes as Linlithgow Rose had won both league and cup. Rose performed the best of all three Junior qualifiers in this inaugural season, reaching the fourth round before losing to eventual finalists, Queen of the South. Of the other early entrants, Pollok defeated St Cuthbert Wanderers before taking Montrose to a replay in Glasgow, watched by 1,873 spectators. North champions Culter defeated two East of Scotland League clubs before losing to Highland League side Huntly in the third round.
In the 2008–09 competition, Banks O' Dee achieved the first double figure scoreline by a Junior club, with a 10–0 defeat of Highland League Fort William.This was bettered in the 2016–17 cup by Bonnyrigg Rose Athletic, whose 14–0 defeat of Burntisland Shipyard remains the largest margin of victory by a Junior side in the competition.
Irvine Meadow became the first Junior side to knock out Scottish Football League opposition in 2009, defeating Arbroath in the third round and became the first side to face Premier League opposition when they drew Hibernian in the next round.Linlithgow Rose's defeat of Forfar Athletic in the 2015–16 competition saw them become the first Junior side to reach the fifth round. In 2016-17 Bonnyrigg defeated Scottish Championship side Dumbarton away from home in the third Round.
In the intervening years, Junior clubs have had reasonable success with several clubs defeating Scottish Football League opposition. These results are listed below:
|28 November 2009||Irvine Meadow||1−0||Arbroath||Irvine|
|Barr 36'||Report||Stadium: Meadow Park|
|23 October 2010||Albion Rovers||0−1||Sunnybank||Coatbridge|
|15:00||Report||10' Gordon||Stadium: Cliftonhill Stadium |
|23 October 2010||Bo'ness United||2−1||Queen's Park||Bo'ness|
| Fleming 45' (pen.)|
|Report||9' Brough||Stadium: Newtown Park |
|8 November 2014||Bo'ness United||5−4||Elgin City||Bo'ness|
| Gribben 4', 31'|
|Report|| 11' (pen.), 42' Sutherland |
|Stadium: Newtown Park |
|26 January 2016||Forfar Athletic||0−1 (a.e.t.)||Linlithgow Rose||Forfar|
|Report||115' Kelbie||Stadium: Station Park |
|6 December 2016||Dumbarton||0–1||Bonnyrigg Rose||Dumbarton|
|19:45||Flashscores.com||Nelson 86'||Stadium: Dumbarton Football Stadium |
|19 January 2019||Auchinleck Talbot||1–0||Ayr United||Auchinleck|
|12:15||McCracken 78'||Report||Stadium: Beechwood Park|
Referee: Euan Anderson
|Head coach||Keith Burgess|
|Most caps||Bert McNab (12)|
|Top scorer|| George Wilson (7)|
Dennis Gray (7)
| Scotland 10–1 England |
(Hamilton, Scotland; 11 May 1889)
| Scotland 11–0 Ireland |
(Glasgow, Scotland; 15 February 1890)
| England 5–0 Scotland |
(Wolverhampton, England; 9 April 1927)
Juniors also play internationally, with the best players being picked to play for the Scottish Junior international team against other countries' non-league select teams. The Umbro-sponsored Junior International Quadrangular Tournament takes place every two years and is contested between teams from Scotland, the Republic of Ireland, Northern Ireland and the Isle of Man.The tournament is hosted in turn by each country, with matches taking place at the larger junior grounds in the host country, such as Dunterlie Park, Pollok's Newlandsfield and Petershill Park when the tournament was held in Scotland in 2005. The team's most capped player is Bert McNab, of Petershill, who won 12 caps between 1951 and 1955.
The team have been led since 2008 by former Glenrothes, Tayport and Kelty manager, Keith Burgess.
After the formation of the Scottish Junior Football Association in 1886, officials began to explore opportunities for representative international matches. On receipt of a £17 guarantee, the Lancashire Junior League in England agreed to raise a team, and on 11 May 1889 the first junior international was played at Douglas Park, Hamilton, with Scotland winning 10–1. A return fixture could not be arranged as the Lancashire league could not provide a sufficient guarantee.
On 15 February 1890, Scotland played their first match against Ireland at Hibernian Park, Glasgow.The 11–0 scoreline in the hosts' favour remains a record victory for the Scottish Junior international team. This fixture did become an annual event, and on 14 February 1891 the team travelled to Belfast for their first away match, a 1–1 draw at Ulsterville, the home of Linfield.
In 1894, games against England resumed with a fixture against Birmingham & District Counties F.A. in Leamington. These games continued until World War II, then were revived for a short period in the 1970s. Scotland suffered a record 5–0 defeat in the 1927 fixture at Molineux, Wolverhampton.Games against Wales began in 1912 with a fixture against a representative side of the North Wales Coast F.A, the first game taking place in Bangor on 13 April, Scotland winning 2–1.
In 1920, the Scottish Junior international side created history by being the first representative football side from Scotland to undertake a foreign tour. In June, a party of 13 players and three officials visited Norway and played three games each in Stavanger and Bergen.The full Scottish national side did not play a match outwith the British Isles until 1929 when they also travelled to Norway.
A game against the Irish Free State was played on 9 March 1929 in Dublin with Scotland winning 2–1 but regular games against a Republic of Ireland side did not begin until 1947. The first game in this series was played at Dalymount Park, Dublin on 25 May, with Scotland winning 3–2.
In September 1975, the team travelled to Osnabrück, West Germany, to play three matches against a BAOR Select side, winning two of the games.
The number of games against the different home nations has varied in regularity over the years. From 1958 until 1967, Northern Ireland were Scotland's only opponents, while in the 1970s there was an eight-year gap between the two sides meeting. Currently, games against England and Wales are in abeyance, and the team contest the biannual Quadrangular Tournament with friendly and testimonial matches arranged intermittently in the intervening seasons.
The following players were selected for the Junior International Quadrangular Tournament which was held in Glasgow, from 11–14 October 2017.
|GK||Richie Barnard||Linlithgow Rose|
|GK||Andy Leishman||Auchinleck Talbot|
|DF||Jonathan Brown||Bonnyrigg Rose Athletic|
|DF||Nicky Docherty||Beith Juniors|
|DF||Andy Forbes||Penicuik Athletic|
|DF||Dean Hoskins||Bonnyrigg Rose Athletic|
|DF||Colin Leiper (withdrew)||Linlithgow Rose|
|DF||Richie McKillen (withdrew)||Hurlford United|
|DF||Ewan Moyes||Bonnyrigg Rose Athletic|
|DF||Craig Pettigrew||Auchinleck Talbot|
|MF||Paul Burns||Cumnock Juniors|
|MF||Lewis Mackenzie||Dundonald Bluebell|
|FW||Bryan Boylan||Kilwinning Rangers|
|FW||David McKenna||Beith Juniors|
|FW||Keir Milliken||Beith Juniors|
|FW||Graham Wilson||Auchinleck Talbot|
The following list, with one exception, notes players who all went on to gain full international honours for Scotland after winning junior international caps,the junior club with which they played at the time and the year of their junior cap.
Bob Foyers was a member of the team which played the first ever Scotland Junior international fixture in May 1889, and after joining St Bernard's the following year, became the first dual Junior/Senior international in 1893 when capped against Wales.
Harry Rennie earned his Junior cap as a defender and signed for Morton as such, but became a goalkeeper aged 23 in 1897 and won ten Senior caps in his new position.
The highest number of players from a Junior international match to go on to win Senior caps is four. In April 1896, Hugh Morgan, Willie Muir, Tommy Low and Bobby Walker, helped Scotland defeat England 4–0 at Aston Villa's Wellington Road ground. A further six players from the team also stepped up to Senior football.
The one exception noted on the list is Paul Wilson. The former Celtic forward was capped in 1980 after his Senior career while turning out for Blantyre Celtic, alongside another former Celt and dual international, Jimmy Johnstone.
Two players also received full caps for other nations after playing for Scotland Juniors: Archie Blue for Australia and Tommy O'Hara for the United States.
|Bob Foyers||Burnbank Swifts||1889|
|Nicol Smith||Darvel Juniors||1893|
|John Fyfe||South Western||1893|
|Harry Rennie||Greenock Volunteers||1895|
|Hugh Morgan||Longriggend Wanderers||1896|
|Willie Muir||Glenbuck Athletic||1896|
|Bobby Walker||Dalry Primrose||1896|
|Bobby Templeton||Kilmarnock Rugby XI||1898|
|David Lindsay||Rutherglen Glencairn||1899|
|Alec Bennett||Rutherglen Glencairn||1902–1903|
|Jimmy Lawrence||Glasgow Perthshire||1904|
|Jimmy Croal||Falkirk Juniors||1905|
|Jimmy Brownlie||Blantyre Victoria||1906|
|William Key||Vale of Clyde||1899|
|Jimmy Gordon||Renfrew Victoria||1907|
|Peter Nellies||Douglas Water Thistle||1908|
|Kenny Campbell||Cambuslang Rangers||1911|
|Tommy McInally||St Anthony's||1919|
|John Gilchrist||St Anthony's||1919|
|Jimmy Dunn||St Anthony's||1920|
|James Hamilton||Vale of Clyde||1922|
|Jimmy Connor||Glasgow Perthshire||1926|
|Danny Liddle||Wallyford Bluebell||1929|
|Scot Symon||Dundee Violet||1930|
|Matt Armstrong||Port Glasgow Athletic||1931|
|Bobby Hogg||Royal Albert||1931|
|Bobby Beattie||Kilwinning Rangers||1933|
|Frank Murphy||Maryhill Hibernians||1933|
|Jock Brown||Prestwick Glenburn Rovers /|
|Dave Mackay||Newtongrange Star||1953|
|George Mulhall||Kilsyth Rangers||1953|
|Alex Scott||Bo'ness United||1953–1955|
|Pat Quinn||Bridgeton Waverley||1956|
|Pat Crerand||Duntocher Hibernian||1958|
|Jim Scott||Bo'ness United||1959|
|Jimmy Johnstone||Blantyre Celtic||1962|
|John "Dixie" Deans||Neilston Juniors||1965|
|Drew Jarvie||Kilsyth Rangers||1967|
|Willie Pettigrew||East Kilbride Thistle||1973|
|Ian Wallace||Yoker Athletic||1974|
|Paul Wilson||Blantyre Celtic||1980|
|Brian Martin||Shotts Bon Accord||1983|
|1993–94||Republic of Ireland||Final||1st||2||2||0||0||3||1|
|1995–96||Isle of Man||3rd place play-off||3rd||2||1||0||1||4||1|
|1997–98||Republic of Ireland||3rd place play-off||3rd||2||1||0||1||4||2|
|1999–00||Isle of Man||Final||2nd||2||1||0||1||2||3|
|2003–04||Republic of Ireland||–||1st||3||1||2||0||6||4|
|2007–08||Isle of Man||–||1st||3||2||1||0||8||6|
|2013||Republic of Ireland||–||2nd||3||2||0||1||10||4|
1 Round-robin tournament format used from 2000–01 onwards.
Auchinleck Talbot Football Club is a Scottish football club based in Auchinleck, near Kilmarnock, Ayrshire. They were members of the Scottish Junior Football Association, winning the Scottish Junior Cup on a record 13 occasions. They play in a local derby against near neighbours and biggest rivals Cumnock Juniors.
The East of Scotland Football League (EoSFL) is a league of football teams from south-east Scotland, which was formed in 1923. The league sits at level 6 on the pyramid system, on par with the South of Scotland Football League and West of Scotland Football League. It is a feeder to the Lowland Football League.
The Scottish Junior Cup is an annual football competition organised by the Scottish Junior Football Association for its 116 member clubs. The competition has been held every year since the inception of the SJFA in 1886 and, as of the 2020–21 edition, up to 95 teams could compete in the tournament. The cup has an unseeded knockout format with semi-finals over two legs and the final played at a neutral venue, always that of an SPFL club.
Lugar Boswell Thistle Football Club are a Scottish football club, based in the village of Lugar, near Cumnock, Ayrshire. Members of the Scottish Junior Football Association, they currently play in the West of Scotland League Conference A. Their home ground since 1882 is Rosebank Park, and they wear maroon and light blue strips.
Royal Albert Football Club are a football club, historically based in the town of Larkhall, Scotland but currently playing in the nearby village of Stonehouse. Formerly a member of the Scottish Football League they now play in the West of Scotland League Conference B.
The Intermediate dispute was a major split in Scottish football which lasted from 1925 to 1931 and concerned the compensation that Junior clubs received when one of their players moved to a Senior football league side. Although largely confined to the West of Scotland, the dispute involved many of the best Junior clubs in the country, setting them in direct conflict with both the Scottish Football Association (SFA) and their own organisation, the Scottish Junior Football Association (SJFA).
Bo'ness United Football Club is a Scottish football club, based in the town of Bo'ness. The team plays in the Lowland League after winning the East of Scotland and gaining SFA membership in 2020. They presently play their home games at Newtown Park, which holds 2,500 spectators and has been used as a football ground since the 1880s. They play in blue.
Culter Junior Football Club are a Scottish football club from the village of Peterculter, a suburb of Aberdeen. Members of the Scottish Junior Football Association, they currently play in the SJFA North Superleague. The club are based at Crombie Park and their colours are red and white.
Linlithgow Rose Football Club are a Scottish football club based in Linlithgow, West Lothian. The team plays in the East of Scotland Football League Premier Division, the sixth tier of Scottish football, having moved from the junior leagues in 2018.
Forfar United Junior Football Club are a Scottish football club based in Forfar, Angus. The current club was formed in August 2020 following the amalgamation of the Forfar amateur team Lowson United and Forfar Albion. After one season playing as Forfar East End Celtic, the name Albion was adopted in 1975. The club play at Guthrie Park and the team colours are maroon.
Hall Russell United Football Club are a Scottish football club based in Bridge of Don, a suburb of Aberdeen. Members of the Scottish Junior Football Association, they currently play in the SJFA North Superleague. Founded in 1968 as an Amateur club, the club joined the SJFA in 1989. Their home ground is Denmore Park and club colours are navy blue.
The 2012–13 East Superleague was the 11th season of the East Superleague, the top tier of league competition for SJFA East Region member clubs.
The 2013–14 Scottish Cup was the 129th season of Scotland's most prestigious football knockout competition. The tournament will begin on 14 September and end on 17 May 2014. It is sponsored by bookmaker William Hill in the third season of a five-year partnership after a two-year extension was agreed, and is known as the William Hill Scottish Cup. The winner of the competition qualifies for the second qualifying round of the 2014–15 UEFA Europa League. This year will be the first time since the 1998 Scottish Cup Final that the final will be played at Celtic Park.
The Scotland national amateur football team was the amateur representative team for Scotland at football. It was formed in 1926 and continued until 1974.
The 2018–19 East Super League was the 17th season of the East Superleague, the top tier of league competition for SJFA East Region member clubs.
The Glasgow Junior Football League (GJL) was a football league competition operated under the Scottish Junior Football Association between 1895 and 1927. As its name suggests, it was primarily for teams in the Glasgow area, but did include teams from towns outside the city; conversely, other leagues existed concurrently and some teams based in Glasgow played in those.
The Central Junior Football League was a football league competition operated under the Scottish Junior Football Association between 1931 and 2002, with an expansion of its membership in 1968.
The West of Scotland Junior Challenge Cup is an annual Scottish football competition played in a one-leg knockout format, organised by the West Region of the Scottish Junior Football Association.
The North Junior Football League, also known as the North-East Junior League, was a football league competition operated in northern Scotland under the Scottish Junior Football Association which operated as the top league in the territory until 2001 when a new regional setup was established - although this was very similar to the previous setup.
The 2020–21 East Premiership was the 19th season of league competition for SJFA East Region member clubs. This was effectively a continuation of the East Superleague but with fewer member clubs in the East Region all teams were in a single tier with no promotion or relegation.