The Second World War
Central Highland League 1939-40
Central League 1945-46
Eastern League 1945-46
Eastern League Cup 1945-46
Emergency competition 1939-40
Glasgow & District Reserve League 1942-1945
Highland Emergency League 1939-40
North Eastern League 1941-1945
North Eastern League Cup 1941-1945
Southern League 1940-1946
Southern League Cup 1940-1946
Summer Cup 1940-1945
Supplementary Cup 1945-46
Victory Cup 1945
War Emergency Cup 1939-40
When war was declared by Britain on Germany on Sunday 3 September 1939, the league season had been going since 12 August. After four games Rangers had been leading the First Division by a point from Falkirk, while Dundee after five games were ahead of the pack in the Second Division. The following day, the Government had banned all places of entertainment and subsequently the Scottish FA cancelled all player contracts although their registrations would remain. On the Thursday, permission was granted to allow friendly games except in Clydebank, Glasgow, Dundee, Dunfermline and Edinburgh, these were regarded as prime candidates for bombing raids. On the 13 September, the League competition was officially abandoned but ways were looked at how to continue regional competitions. Permission for these were granted by the Home Secretary on the 21st.
The League continued with their arrangements and on 26 September announced plans for two regional divisions to commence on 21 October.
The league would compose of two divisions of sixteen clubs each – six clubs would be jettisoned. As Edinburgh was only allowed three clubs, a toss of the coined determined that St Bernards were let in ahead of Leith Athletic. What money there was though was concentrated in the Western section. Aberdeen, Heart of Midlothian and Hibernian, cut off from the lucrative fixtures with the big Glasgow clubs announced they wouldn’t take part the following season unless new arrangements could be agreed. Clubs were to suffer great losses because of the arrangements Celtic were down over £7000 while Heart of Midlothian posted losses of over £2500. Meantime the Scottish FA organized a cup competition to replace the Scottish Cup, which had also been suspended. The only entrants allowed were the surviving League clubs. Although this left an odd number in the competition, appeals to let either Edinburgh City or Leith Athletic play were ignored.
The idea of retuning to the peacetime arrangements for the 1940-41 season were abandoned after the events at Dunkirk in May 1940 and the Scottish League subsequently took the decision to closed down for the rest of the war on 6 June.
Granted permission to form their own leagues, the remaining clubs devised a new set-up which would consist of a sixteen-club Southern League, basically the Regional West section tweaked a little, and a North-Eastern League for clubs north of the River Forth, although the latter wouldn’t start until 1941-42. The creation of a Midland League for the interim season was attempted during the summer but although Dundee United and Dunfermline Athletic had persuaded East Fife, King’s Park, Raith Rovers and Stenhousemuir to take part, the lack of enthusiasm of Dundee put paid to the idea.
The structure of the various leagues necessitated new competitions to increase the fixture list – the Southern League had each club playing 30 games as opposed to 38 pre-war. Therefore a League Cup competition was introduced with the first part being played in group stages, and to ensure the sport was played all year round the Government sanctioned the Summer Cup competition.
When the War ended suddenly in 1945, there were no plans in place for the restart of official Scottish League competitions. Instead an interim, expanded Southern League was run, with clubs from the North Eastern League and other sides that were in hibernation making up a two division structure. Promotion and relegation were held off for a season until the Scottish League itself was revived. Those clubs excluded formed an Eastern League. In 1946, the latter would be incorporated into the Scottish League as C Division.