Five notable defunct Scottish football tournaments

Jimmy Bone, St Mirren captain, holds the Anglo-Scottish Cup aloft after the Buddies defeated Bristol City 5-1 on aggregate in April 1980. Picture: SNS Group
Jimmy Bone, St Mirren captain, holds the Anglo-Scottish Cup aloft after the Buddies defeated Bristol City 5-1 on aggregate in April 1980. Picture: SNS Group
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From the fondly-remembered Tennent’s Sixes to the complicated structure of the short-lived but long-titled Anglo-Franco-Scottish Friendship Cup, here are five defunct but not-forgotten Scottish football tournaments

Drybrough Cup 1971-74; 1979-80

Hibs forward Alan Gordon gets between Kenny Dalglish (left) and George Connelly of Celtic in the 1972 Drybrough Cup final. Hibs won 5-3 AET. Picture: SNS Group

Hibs forward Alan Gordon gets between Kenny Dalglish (left) and George Connelly of Celtic in the 1972 Drybrough Cup final. Hibs won 5-3 AET. Picture: SNS Group

Easier to understand than the UEFA Nations League format, the Drybrough Cup nevertheless had a curious entry requirement: it was only open to the four highest scoring teams from the top two Scottish tiers.

Held from 1971-1974 and again from 1979-80, the tournament was played on the weekend prior to the league campaign getting under way and consisted of a first round, semi-final stage and final.

The reason for the gap between 1974 and 1979 was due to the creation of the Scottish Football Premier League Division.

The new 10-team top flight meant two additional league games for the new Premier Division clubs and so the competition was put on hold.

The idea for the tournament came after the Scottish FA banned existing competitions from having title sponsors.

The Drybrough brewery circumvented this rule by simply creating a brand new competition with their name on it.

Hibs, in the Turnbull’s Tornadoes era, won back-to-back Drybrough Cups, in 1972 and 1973, beating Celtic on both occasions.

Celtic actually contested five out of the six Drybrough Cup finals but won only once, beating Rangers on penalties in 1974.

With the exception of 1971, when Pittodrie hosted it, the final was held at Hampden Park.

Attendances for the three finals in 1972, 1973, 1974 and 1979 were between 49,000 and 58,000 but the crowd for the last ever Drybrough Cup final, between Aberdeen and St Mirren, was fewer than 7,000 as interest in the tournament dwindled.

Tennents’ Sixes, 1984-93

An obvious candidate for any defunct Scottish tournament list, the Tennent’s Sixes was a yearly indoor football tournament held in January between 1984 and 1993.

Contested by teams of six-a-side, most participating clubs were from the Scottish top flight, with the occasional guest club from England, or the lower Scottish leagues.

The format was based on the number of teams involved; ten teams entered, were drawn into two groups of five and played each other once. The teams finishing first and second advancedto the knockout stage of two semi-finals and a final.

Initially held at the Coasters Arena in Falkirk in 1984, the event moved to the Ingliston Showground the following year before being played at the Scottish Exhibition and Conference Centre (SECC) in Glasgow between 1986 and 1993.

The strict rules evolved as the tournament progressed, but generall speaking matches consisted of two halves of 7 minutes 30 seconds during the group stage, lengthening to 10 minute halves in the knockout stage.

Squads of 12 were used with teams allowed to make unlimited substitutions throughout a match. The pitch bore a similarity to an ice hockey rink (in markings, not surface) and measured around 200ft long by 85ft wide.

Tied games were decided on penalties, players had to be within a certain line to have a shot at goal and goalkeepers were only allowed to hold onto the ball for six seconds - a rule later adopted, and abolished by FIFA.

No one team can claim a monopoly on the event, with Rangers (1984 & 1989), Hearts (1985 & 1991) and Aberdeen (1986 & 1987) all winning the tournament twice.

Dundee (1988), Hibs (1990), Celtic (1992) and Partick Thistle (1993) were the other winners.

Spare a thought for Motherwell, who were beaten finalists on three occasions and St Mirren, who lost both finals they contested by three goals to nil, against Aberdeen and Hibs.

When Tennents withdrew their sponsorship in the aftermath of the 1993 event, the tournament was sadly discontinued. Reigning champions Partick still have the trophy on proud display at Firhill.

Anglo-Scottish Cup, 1975-1981; 1987-88

Formed from the ashes of the Texaco Cup, the Anglo-Scottish Cup was a summer tournament for teams in the Scottish and English football leagues from 1975 until 1981, and although an attempt was made to revive the competition in the late 1980s it was ultimately unsuccessful.

The format was relatively straightforward. Eight Scottish league sides played a two-legged knock-out round, with the aggregate winners of each tie advancing to the Cup’s quarter finals.

From England, 16 teams competed in a four groups of four with the group winners qualifying for the last eight where they would meet one of the four Scottish sides.

The tournament was then played out in a knock-out format with each tie - including the final - being a two-legged affair.

Despite hopes that the competition would be able to match other leading tournaments of the time, Newcastle United were thrown out of the 1976/77 competition for fielding an understrength side against Ayr United. With each year, fewer and fewer top team English teams took part and in 1981, Scottish clubs called time on their involvement in the tournament, citing a lack of interest from supporters, and the number of lower league English teams participating.

By 1980/81, the likes of Bury, Grimsby Town, Leyton Orient and Shrewsbury Town were playing, when the maiden season had enjoyed the presence of Chelsea, Manchester City and Newcastle.

An attempt was made in the 1987/88 season to revive the competition under the branding of the ‘Anglo-Scottish Challenge Cup’ as a type of two-legged exhibition match between the FA Cup and Scottish Cup winners, but it failed miserably.

The crowd at the first leg match between Coventry City and St Mirren was so disappointing that the return leg was never played and the competition was shelved once more.

St Mirren are the only Scottish club to have won the event, after they defeated Bristol City 5-1 on aggregate during the 1979/80 final.

Saint Mungo Cup, 1951

This was a one-off tournament held in the summer of 1951 to mark the Festival of Britain - not to be confused with the greyhound racing competition of the same name, held at Shawfield Stadium.

Named after Glasgow’s patron saint, the tournament was organised by the Corporation of Glasgow and the trophy was the Corporation’s contribution to the Festival.

A total of 14 Scottish Division “A” clubs competed, with Division “B” sides Queen’s Park and Clyde also involved.

Celtic came from 2-0 down to beat Aberdeen 3–2 in the final at Hampden, watched by a crowd of over 80,000.

Jimmy Walsh, who had scored in every round including in a replay against Clyde after a 4-4 draw, kept his run going with a goal in the final.

But confusion reigned over the exact origins of the trophy at the post-match presentation held at Kelvin Hall,

A report in the Glasgow Herald of 21 August 1951 read: “When Mr James McGrory, Celtic’s manager, first handled the trophy, a salmon which forms part of the city’s coat of arms which is on the trophy came apart and later examination led him and his directors to believe that the trophy was not new.”

Closer inspection of the trophy also revealed the presence of many decorative life belts and mermaids - unusual for footballing silverware.

It was later revealed that the trophy was actually a hand-me-down that had been used not once, but twice prior. Originally cast as a yachting trophy (hence the maritime paraphernalia) in 1894, it was initially altered for a football competition between Provan Gasworks and a Glasgow Police XI in 1912, before amendments were made ahead of the 1951 tournament.

The Glasgow Herald report continued: “Celtic have written to the committee who promoted the tournament, pointing out that the trophy is second-hand and suggesting that a new trophy should be purchased out of the funds which accumulated from the competition.

“The Celtic directors further state that if that suggestion is not found practicable, Celtic themselves are prepared to meet the cost of a new trophy.

“The Scottish Football Association, who promoted the tournament at the request of the Lord Provost of Glasgow, Sir Victor Warren, and Glasgow Corporation, will, I am sure, agree that there is substance to Celtic’s complaints and endeavour to restore the dignity of Glasgow’s festival football competition.”

Celtic eventually relented, and the original Saint Mungo Cup can be seen in the Parkhead trophy room today... life belts and all.

Anglo-Franco-Scottish Friendship Cup 1960-62

Awkwardly-named, complex in structure and unsurprisingly short-lived, the Anglo-Franco-Scottish Friendship Cup was established by the French Football Federation (FFF) with the aim of English Football League teams and Scottish Football League competing with their French counterparts. An early suggestion to have four teams from Scotland and four from England competing as one nation against eight teams from France was hastily brushed under the carpet when the Scottish League objected rather vociferously to the idea.

Two individual trophies were made; one each for the Scots clubs and English clubs separately competing against the French representatives. However, individual clubs couldn’t win the competition, so each “country” won two points for a victory and one point for a draw.

Clubs qualified for the tournament based on final league position but major European competitions took precedence, so clubs that finished further down the division would be in with a chance of playing in the new Cup.

In the first year of the new competition Hearts, Kilmarnock and Rangers finished in the top three slots, qualifying for the European Cup, New York International tournament and the Cup Winners Cup, so the clubs that finished in fourth, fifth, sixth and seventh were offered the chance to play in the new tournament.

However, seventh-placed Hibs were due to take part in the Fairs Cup so their spot was offered to Ayr United, who finished eighth.

Clyde, Motherwell, Ayr and Dundee were the four teams that should have contested the tournament, but Ayr were forced to pull out due to inadequate floodlighting at Somerset Park. So Celtic - who had finished ninth - took part.

The Scottish sides would face Sedan, Toulouse, Lens and Valenciennes.

Scotland won the inaugural Franco-Scottish trophy, three aggregate victories to one. Although Celtic lost 6-3 on aggregate to Sedan, Motherwell defeated Toulouse 6-2, Dundee saw off Valenciennes 4-3 and Clyde trounced Lens 6-1.

England enjoyed a clean sweep of victories in the Anglo-Franco pool, with Newcastle beating Paris 5-3, Liverpool defeating Nantes 7-1, Bolton recording a 5-1 aggregate victory over Le Havre and Boro winning 6-2 against Lille.

France exacted revenge on Scotland in the second edition of the tournament, winning by two aggregate victories to one. Aberdeen, Third Lanark, Motherwell and Celtic were all due to compete against Le Havre, Rouen, Nimes and Reims.

The Dons and Third Lanark had been drafted into replace Clyde and Dundee. However, neither of the scheduled games between Celtic and Reims took place, owing to disagreements over when the matches would be played.

Aberdeen won 7-2 against Le Havre, but Rouen beat Third Lanark 6-1 and the Steelmen were edged out 5-4 by Nimes. Cardiff City, despite being a Welsh club, competed with the English League clubs.

They defeated Lens 6-2 on aggregate, while Bordeaux were 3-2 victors over Southampton and Blackburn beat Nancy by the same aggregate scoreline. The match between Beziers and Derby ended up tied at 2-2.

It’s not exactly clear why the trophy was discontinued but poor attendances may have played a part in the curtain being brought down on the competition.

Although Celtic’s home match with Sedan drew a crowd of 27,000 the French legs of the matches were attended by fewer than 4000 people.

Just 3000 were in the crowd for Sedan’s 3-0 win over Celtic while 2034 were at Valenciennes’ 1-0 win over Dundee. The Lens-Clyde match-up drew a slightly larger attendance of around 7,000 for both legs.

The second edition of the tournament saw just 2,500 turn out for Third Lanark’s match with Rouen, while Le Havre’s home match with Aberdeen and Nimes v Motherwell were also sparsely attended.

The timeframe could have had an effect as well; Dundee faced Valenciennes in France on August 7 1960 but the return leg at Dens Park wasn’t played until December 7. Little wonder Celtic and Reims struggled to agree on fixture dates.