Scottish Reserve League



See also

Main index

Club directory

Scottish Reserve League 1895-96

Scottish Reserve League 1909-1915

Scottish Reserve League 1938-39

Scottish Reserve League 1945-1949

Scottish (Reserve) League 1955-1975

Scottish Reserve League 1975-2007

Reserve Cup competitions

Reserve football overview




The first  mention of a League Reserve Championship was in 1896 involving, amongst others, Rangers and Heart of Midlothian.


By 1909 a new Scottish Reserve League was established, although one aspect of it was having at least one non-reserve side in each of its seasons. It was generally regarded as a strong league and when Dumbarton Harp left the Scottish Union for it in 1912, it was regarded as a step up for them. Although the League disbanded in 1915, it was virtually re-established in 1919 as the Scottish Alliance. Like its immediate predecessor it also contained a small number of a number of non-League sides within its membership. However their involvement ended at the Alliance’s AGM in 1938. A motion by Hamilton Academical to remove the two remaining non-League sides – Beith and Galston – for financial reasons was approved by 15 votes to 5. The Alliance was then effectively reformed as the Scottish Reserve League, and was to be an exclusively First Division reserve body.


After World War Two, the Scottish Reserve League restarted, again it was a mirror of the sixteen club First, now renamed A, Division. Throughout its four year existence, the league’s membership changed to resemble the A Division’s so that although Rangers ‘A’ finished bottom in 1947-48, they were saved by the fact that the 1st XI were runners-up in the Scottish League. This version of the league lasted for four seasons before it was merged with the C Division to create a two section third tier of the Scottish League.


The C Division was formally abolished at a SGM of the Scottish League on 19 June 1955 after a number of prominent clubs pulled their reserve sides out. They subsequently set up the Scottish (Reserve) League, the brackets distinguishing it from the 1938-1949 versions. Again it was to be a mirror of the First Division although there were a number of seasons when not all of those clubs took part.


The reorganization of the Scottish League into Premier-First-Second Divisions in 1975 saw a restructured reserve set-up. The Premier clubs were place into the Premier Reserve League, which mirrored the Premier Division membership, while the lower league clubs used varying set-ups such as East-West sections and midweek competitions. Because of the costs of running a reserve side, these latter competitions didn’t feature every club, and saw a wide variation in their memberships. After the formation of the Scottish Premier League in 1998, an under 21 league, with some overage players, replaced the Premier Reserve League, but this lasted only until 2004 when it reverted to a wholly reserve competition. The Reserve League (East) was abandoned after 2004 simply because of a lack of entries and while the West section continued its size diminished until in 2006-07 there were only four clubs competing. In 2007, the Scottish League decided to scrap the Reserve League completely and to replace it with U21 and U19 leagues.

In 1977-78, 1981-82, 1984-85 & 2001-02 seasons, the West and East sections combined to form a single division.