Category Archives: Exhibitions

The Scottish Curling Exhibition

The Scots created curling. They wrote the first rules and standardised the stones and the size of the rink. They made its language, from the hog to the house, and they gave it to the world.

This exhibition is based on the collection of the late Sheriff David B. Smith which he left to the Scottish Curling Trust in 2015.

The earliest certain reference to curling dates from 1620, though there is evidence from Paisley, that it had been played in the previous century.
This old game was played outdoors, often on rough ice on which the house and the hogs were scratched.

The first indoor rink was at Southport in Lancashire, opened in 1879, it was a commercial failure, but it was followed by rinks in Glasgow and Edinburgh. Curlers travelled long distances, typically by train, to play at the city venues.

The popularity of Ice Hockey in the late 1930’s made possible the building of many more indoor rinks, and new ones were opened in the 1960’s and 1970’s, encouraging women to take up the game.

From 1959 onwards international competition expanded, so that it is now the public face of the game.

The last of the outdoor Grand Matches was held in 1979.  Since 200 they have been played indoors every five years.

New Exhibition: The Internationalists- Scotland’s Story on the World Stage.

Take a walk down to Scotland’s National Stadium and gaze upon our latest gallery, displaying remarkable items and memorabilia of Scotland on the world stage.
At the turn of the century, international football became increasingly popular and the need for a single body to oversee association football became more apparent. The Federation International de Football Association (FIFA) was founded in 1904 to organise international competition among national associations. FIFA membership currently currently stands at 211 national associations. This newly governed body would go on to host the inaugural World Cup in 1930- where 13 nations participated with no qualification phase; compare that to the upcoming 2026 World Cup which will see 48 nations play in the finals.

The World Cup is regarded as the most prestigious association football tournament and has grown to be the most widely viewed and supported event in the world.

Each of the national associations of FIFA must also be members of six continental confederations; Africa, Asia, Europe, North & Central America and the Caribbean, Oceania and South America. Scotland holds membership with the union of European Football Associations which organises club and national competitions in professional and amateur associations- such as the European Championships.
In September 2018, UEFA will launch the Nation’s league which will largely replace international friendly matches and improve the quality of football. The Nation’s League will provide an added route to the UEFA European Championship and allow for more competition for lower ranked nations.

The Scotland men’s national football team played its first official match against England, in 1872. This is the oldest official international  fixture in the world and, since then, the Scotland national team has experienced the highs and lows of competitive tournaments. The men is navy blue first participated at a World Cup finals tournament in 1954. The longest period of success was between 1974 and 1990 when the team qualified for five successive World Cup finals tournaments. The men’s national team did not qualify for their first European finals tournament until reaching UEFA Euro 92. Qualification was also achieved for the European Championships in England in 1996. The last major tournament involving the men’s national team was the 1998 FIFA World Cup in France. With Hampden Park being a host stadium for UEFA Euro 202 matches, there is much hope and anticipation that the Scotland men’s national team will play in a major international tournament on home soil.

A wide range of items on display in the new exhibition.

The Scotland women’s national team played its first official match in 1972 against England. The Scottish FA took formal control over the team in 1998 and with a gradual restructuring of the women’s game in Scotland and some added investment, the women’s national team pushed for a place at a major tournament. The team would reach the play-off stage for Euro 2009 and Euro 2013 but narrowly missed out on qualifications on each occasion. However, the team bounced back in style, qualifying for the UEFA Women’s Euro 2017 tournament in the Netherlands. Many of the history makers of 2017 are still with the side and, so far, have enjoyed a strong qualifying campaign for the 2019 FIFA World Cup finals in France.

A signed Scotland Women’s jersey from the 2017 UEFA European Championships.

New Exhibition. UEFA Women’s EURO 2017

The Museum’s latest exhibition is one that looks back to only last July’s 2017 UEFA Women’s EURO Championships.

In 2016, the Scotland Women’s National Team qualified for a major tournament for the first time in their history. The Squad, coached by Anna Signeul and captained by Gemma Fay, earned a place at the UFEA Women’s Euro 2017 tournament in the Netherlands.The qualifying campaign had taken the team to Iceland, Slovenia, Belarus and Macedonia.

Scotland were drawn in Group D, referred to as the Group of derbies, with England, Portugal and Spain. Scotland would kick off the their campaign against England- only to be beaten 6-0 by the Lionesses. The second match against Portugal would be unfortunate as Scotland came up short in a 2-1 defeat to the Portuguese. Although Erin Cuthbert would make history; becoming the first ever Scotland Women’s goalscorer at a major tournament.

In the final group match against Spain, in order to qualify, with England at that moment beating Portugal 2-1, Scotland would need to at least win 2-0 for any chance of progression to the next round. Despite the England score remaining the same, Caroline Weir’s only goal of the game was not enough and Scotland were out of the campaign.

Though the campaign was incredibly sore for our National Women’s team, qualification for the tournament and participation is one where everyone who was involved in the journey should look back with pride and see a legacy that will last forever.

Our new exhibition recognises this great achievement by Women’s team qualifying for the tournament in Holland- by displaying items from their Euro 2017 campaign.

The Edinburgh Academical Football Club- Celebrating 160 Years.

Some may question as to why a rugby club has its own exhibition in the Scottish Football Museum. Though, once the tale of Edinburgh Academical Football Club (EAFC) is shared, then people see why it is reasonable that the Museum’s latest exhibition on a rugby club is relevant to the game of football.

The Edinburgh Academical Football Club were formed in 1857 by former pupils and those who held close connection to the school. The club is the oldest ‘football club’ by any code in Scotland (160 years old this year). EAFC were formed before the football split as to what determines a football club and a rugby club. The club was initially formed to play football and then, in time, adopted ‘Rugby rules’ which were based on those formulated at ‘Rugby School’. Accies are the second oldest rugby club in the world; behind Trinity College in Dublin, plus the members who helped form the club would also be instrumental in constructing and formatting of the RFU, the SFU and IRFB.

Accies played their first ever match against students from University of Edinburgh on Boxing Day 1857, this is regarded as the first ever rugby match played in Scotland and also the first inter-club match in the world.

Indeed, the very first rugby international match took place at Raeburn Park on 27th March 1871. A Scotland team, made up of eight EAFC players, would play England. Scotland would be victorious in this game-winning by two tries and a goal to England’s single try.

Interestingly, JH Clayton, who represented England in the first ever international match, too has a connection with Accies; for his great, great, great grandson, Jack, currently plays for the Edinburgh side.

More than 120 EAFC players have represented the Scotland Rugby team; more than any other club in Scotland in stat terms, that is one in ten players selected for national duty has played for EAFC.

Richard McBrearty, the Museum Curator, shared “As the oldest surviving Scottish football club of any code, the history of Edinburgh Accies is inextricably linked to the origins of modern football. It is exciting for us to host an exhibition celebrating the 160th anniversary of this significant club.”

Commenting on the new exhibition in the Scottish Football Museum, EAFC President, Frank Spratt, said: “We are delighted to be given a place in the National Football Museum in our 160th season. We are deeply proud of our shared football heritage, as well as our own place in rugby history. The exhibition is a fitting tribute to our Club, as well as showcasing some important artefacts that will contribute greatly to the success of the MoIR.”


The 1948 Great Britain Olympic Football Team.

Very recently, the Scottish Football Museum has paid tribute to Queen’s Park Football Club on their 150th anniversary with a Queen’s Park exhibition. There are multiple items within this gallery which the public often ask about with curiosity and enthusiasm, however, one football top in particular has led to people inquiring, “what is the story behind the 1948 GB Olympics Football jersey worn by an Angus Carmichael?”

Angus Carmichael was a Queen’s Park left back who was selected to be part of the Great Britain football squad competing at the 1948 Olympic Games; playing once in the Bronze medal match against Denmark.

In late July 1948 (69 years ago), the Olympic Games returned after a 12 year absence because of World War II. The games were unofficially referred to as “the Austerity Games” because of the economic status after the awful years of conflict. Germany and Japan were refused permission to participate; the USSR was invited but chose not to send any athletes.

This would be the second time the Olympic Games were hosted in the city of London. All football players were to be amateurs, in accordance with the Olympic spirit, which meant that some countries could not send their full international team- though this did not stop countries at times requesting to field their national teams. By this time, it was recognised that Britain’s amateur players were not of the same quality as they had been in earlier years, due to the rise of the professional game, so newly appointed Team GB coach, Matt Busby, searched far and wide for the best amateurs in the land.


Above: Alan Carmichael’s Team GB jersey.

Nineteen players in total were selected to play in the GB team- five of them being Queen’s Park  players. Andy Aitken, John Boyd, Angus Carmichael, James McColl and Ronnie Simpson. David Letham of Queen’s Park did not make the final squad, although, Letham was on the stand-by list should any player pull out of the squad. Indeed, the youngest selected was Ronnie Simpson at 17 years, 289 days while the oldest was Welsh club Troedyrhiw’s Gwyn Manning at 32 years, 343 days. What is interesting is that years later, in 1967, Simpson would go on to be Scotland’s oldest debutant at 35 yeas old when Scotland faced England at Wembley.

Left: The Badge on each player’s blazer.

The GB Olympic football team has competed in many Olympic Games but 1948 was to be their most successful tournament. Wembley Stadium hosted Great Britain’s final two matches, though they also played at Craven Cottage and Highbury. In the first round, the men beat the Netherlands 4-3 after extra-time; goals from Dougie McBain, John Hardisty, Dennis Kelleher and Harry McIlvenny were enough to progress. After that it was France who stood waiting in the quarter-finals. In a cagey affair, a second goal of the tournament from Hardisty was enough to overcome Les Bleus for the UK men to reach the semi-finals.

In an entertaining semi-final match against Yugoslavia, Great Britain would fall just a bit short of quality going toe to toe with the Eastern Europeans. Stjepan Bobek put Yugoslavia 1-0 up before Frank Donovan leveled the score. Four minutes after the score became 1-1, Yugoslavia were then in front again; this time through Franjo Wolfl. Any hopes of a comeback were made much more unlikely as Rajko Mitic scored his country’s third goal in the 48 minute.

Having lost the semi-final to Yugoslavia, Britain faced Denmark in the bronze medal match- in front of almost 50,000 at Wembley. If the British public thought the Yugoslavia game was a great watch for the viewer then they were to be in for a treat watching this tie. Andy Aitken got Team GB off to the perfect start grabbing a goal after just five minutes, until Denmark equalised through Karl Aage Præs on the 12th minute; followed with John Hansen turning the tie on its head slotting home four minutes later. Hardisty brought it back to 2-2 after the half hour mark (his third goal of the Olympic Games), though Denmark would go into the half time dressing room 3-2 up after Jørgen Leschly Sørensen scored his country’s third goal. A fantastic first half of football in which the second half would mirror slightly. Just after the restart Præs got the better of the GB defence again, firing past Simpson on the 49th minute. The crowd was tense but regained hope when Bill Amor of Reading converted a penalty. 4-3 to Denmark with just under half an hour to go. Then the killer blow for team GB, Hansen second goal all but confirming which country would be finishing third in the football tournament. Team GB finished forth overall as Denmark achieved the bronze medal- holding on to win the match 5-3 at Wembley.

Despite the end result for team GB, the players did the British Isles proud and the Queen’s Park men did not look out of place on the Olympic stage. Because of the commitment shown to the amateur status- and a consistent good standard of football- Queen’s players such as Thomas Stewart, John Devine and David Holt would in the future be called up for Team GB in the Olympic Games of 1952 and 1960. These players participation at the Olympic Games is just another fine example of the always impressive history of the oldest association club in Scottish football. It is therefore no surprise when hearing stories such as the 1948 Olympic football team, visitors, who gaze upon the Queen’s Park exhibition viewing items of the club’s history, are lost in amazement and end up spending hours absorbing the knowledge and past of the men in black and white hoops.

Above: A Squad photo of the team in London.


Team Great Britain Squad:

Kevin McAlinden (Belfast Celtic)

Ronnie Simpson (Queen’s Park)

Angus Carmichael (Queen’s Park)

Gwyn Manning (Troedyrhiw)

James McColl (Queen’s Park)

Charles Neale (Walton & Hersham)

Eric Fright (Bromley)

Eric Lee (Chester City)

Douglas McBain (Queen of the South)

Andy Aitken (Queen’s Park)

Bill Amor (Reading)

John Boyd (Queen’s Park)

Frank Donovan (Pembroke Borough)

Bob Hardisty (Darlington)

Thomas Hopper (Bromley)

Dennis Kelleher (Barnet)

Peter Kippax (Burnley)

Harold McIlvenny (Bradford Park Avenue)

Jack Rawlings (Enfield)

Head Coach: Matt Busby

Scottish FA Women’s International Roll of Honour

The Scottish FA Women’s International Roll of Honour is a new permanent exhibit within the Scottish Football Museum which will pay tribute to members of the Scottish Women’s National Team who have gained 100 caps. There are currently 12 players who have achieved this remarkable feat within the women’s game in Scotland and they are listed below:

Gemma Fay

Joanne Love

Pauline Hamill

Megan Sneddon

Julie Fleeting

Rhonda Jones

Leanne Ross

Suzanne Grant

Kim Little

Ifeoma Dieke

Jennifer Beattie

Jane Ross

Each player has been honoured with a display panel highlighting their debut and 100th appearances. A special “100th cap” for each player, presented from UEFA, will also be displayed within a cabinet beside the panels.

Scotland Women’s National Team head coach Anna Signeul, opening of a new Scottish FA Women’s International Roll of Honour display.


Gemma Fay, Ifeoma Dieke and Julie Fleeting with their special caps.

More Than a Game Exhibition now open in the museum


In the Scottish Football Museum, our new exhibition ‘More Than a Game’ is now on display which explores different societies and diversities through football rivalries.

Success on the football field can put towns, even countries, on the map, enhancing civic and national prestige. This can have a significant impact on people’s lives; for example, during the Great Depression of the 1930’s football acted as a form of escapism for individuals and communities in Scotland who were otherwise marginalised within society.

Football supporters identify with the clubs and national grand that they follow and can even view them as a symbol of their own identify. In different parts of the world today where tensions within communities have led to intolerance and hostility, problems teaks ting to racism and sectarianism have often manifested within the game itself. Football, however, can also represent positive aspects of society and culture. gallery derbiesAt its very best, the global game is a celebration of humanity, community, and diversity.

Association football is played throughout the world to a simple and uniform set of rules. From São Paulo to Shanghai, two teams, each compromising 10 outfield players and a goalkeeper, line up against each other to play in a match with a normal duration of 90 minutes. Look beyond the March, however, and you will find diversity, as football clubs and national teams reflect and represent a variety of cultures and identities.

These differences are particularly in evidence where football clubs or mailman teams share a rivalry. Many football rivalries exist for the simple reason of geographic proximity. Some football rivalries have developed as a direct result of sustained success on the playing field. Other rivalries may share both of these characteristics whilst reflecting wider cultural differences.

Come on down to see our new exhibition! Museum opening times are Monday to Saturday 10am- 5pm and Sunday 11am -5pm.

Historic shinty exhibits at Hampden’s football museum on the 157th anniversary of the first clash between shinty and football clubs

As the founding document of the Aberdeen University Shinty Club (the world’s oldest IMG_20160115_142238
constituted shinty club) goes on display at the Scottish Football Museum, a fascinating story of an unprecedented and historic sporting contest between shinty and football clubs has been unearthed.

Aberdeen University Shinty Club was founded in 1861, just one year after the merger of the city’s two great educational institutions – King’s College, founded in 1495, and Marischal College, founded in 1593.

On 15th January 1859, just one year prior to the merger, the rivalry between both independent institutions was transferred into the sporting arena when shinty and football clubs representing each college took part in an unprecedented challenge match.

An account of the contest appeared in the Aberdeen Herald and General Advertiser on 22nd January 1859. It stated: “The Shinty Club of King’s College having accepted a challenge from the Foot-ball Club of Marischal College, to play three games at shinty and three at foot-ball, the match came off on the links on Saturday. Owing to the games being keenly contested, three games at shinty and only one at foot-ball were concluded, all in favour of the King’s Club.”

Following the merger of 1860 the shinty players were quick to act, constituting a new unified team in 1861 under the title of the Aberdeen University Shinty Club. Perhaps deflated by defeat, the footballers were much slower in getting organised and it is 1869 before a football club is first recorded at the university.

The historic 1861 document relating to the shinty club is being loaned for display by Aberdeen University Special Collections along with the magnificent Littlejohn Trophy and Album.

Commentating on the loan of the valuable items, broadcaster and shinty historian Hugh Dan MacLennan of Edinburgh University said: “The Littlejohn Trophy and Album are two of shinty’s greatest historical and most spectacular artefacts and we are indebted to the University of Aberdeen for allowing us to include such an important part of the sport’s history in the Hampden exhibition.  The University club’s foundation document is hugely significant also, and for us to be able to show the three items together in the national stadium is a great privilege and I hope the shinty community will come and see them in this unique setting.  And once again our researches have unearthed some remarkable historical information which adds to the rich tapestry of the game.”

Siobhan Convery, Head of Special Collections at Aberdeen University, commented: “The University has a long and proud history of sporting achievements and we are delighted that these treasures relating to shinty’s early history can be enjoyed by a wider audience.”

Richard McBrearty, Curator of the Scottish Football Museum said: “We are delighted to host the exhibition on shinty within the museum at Hampden Park and are very grateful to Aberdeen University Special Collections and Museums for kindly agreeing to loan these truly historic sporting items. The details surrounding the historic contest of 1859 have only recently been discovered and it is a complete coincidence that the display of the Aberdeen University shinty items falls on the anniversary of the historic contest of 1859. It serves to remind us of the significant connections between shinty and football in Scotland and of the rich sporting traditions of Aberdeen University.”



Our rugby friends West of Scotland Football Club are 150 years old this season!

Our rugby friends West of Scotland Football Club are 150 years old this season and in tribute to this significant milestone a small display on the club can currently be seen at the museum. West were originally based at the West of Scotland Cricket Ground, scene of the world’s first official international football match (Association rules) in 1872. That first historic encounter between Scotland and England was organised by Queen’s Park FC, the owners of Hampden Park where the museum is based. The distinctive red and yellow hoops of the West of Scotland club were adopted by Partick Thistle in 1935.



Presentation of Dundee FC Shirt

Dundee FC recently presented the Scottish Football Museum with their specially produced third shirt. The shirt was produced to commemorate the sacrifice made by the city on the 100th anniversary of the Battle of Loos and contains the official tartan and badge of the Black Watch regiment. Kenny Ross, Chairman of the Dundee FC Supporters Association, presented the shirt to museum curator Richard McBrearty and the shirt will go on display in a new display on the First World War which is due to open at Hampden within the next few days.

Loos Shirt presentation