East of Scotland Football League

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East of Scotland Football League
East of Scotland Football League logo.png
Country Scotland (38 teams)
Other club(s) from England (1 team)
Number of teams39
Level on pyramid6
Promotion toLowland Football League
Domestic cup(s)Scottish Cup
South Region Challenge Cup
League cup(s)East of Scotland League Cup
King Cup
Current championsKelty Hearts (1st title)
Most championshipsWhitehill Welfare (16 titles)
2018–19 East of Scotland Football League

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 acts as a feeder to the Lowland Football League.

Its clubs are largely located in the Edinburgh, Lothians and Scottish Borders areas, although in recent years clubs from Clackmannanshire, Falkirk, Fife, Stirling and Perth have joined the league. A total of 39 teams are competing in the 2018–19 season, drawn from the 54 members of the sister organisation, the East of Scotland Football Association (EoSFA).

Beginning in 2014–15 and subject to both clubs meeting the licensing criteria for promotion, the winner of the East of Scotland Football League and the winner of the South of Scotland Football League take part in an end of season play-off for a place in the Lowland Football League.


Original EoSFL[edit]

An earlier East of Scotland League existed between 1896 and 1906, when the supplementary Edinburgh Football League changed its name, after accepting Dundee as a member. There is no connection between the two incarnations of the league.

Recent history[edit]

The EoSFL was traditionally one of Scotland's three "senior" non-leagues which sat outside the Scottish Football League (SFL), the other two being the Highland Football League and the South of Scotland Football League (SoSFL). It was generally viewed as being weaker than the Highland League (with fewer of their club sides defeating SFL sides in the Scottish Cup competition as opposed to the HFL), but was still regarded as being stronger than the South of Scotland League.

Some SoSFL clubs opted to join the EoSFL, including Annan Athletic before they were elected to the SFL in 2008. Dalbeattie Star and Threave Rovers also joined however both subsequently left to rejoin the SoSFL and then later the Lowland League.

A number of the sides in the EoSFL have applied to join the SFL in the past, with Annan Athletic applying in (2000, successfully in 2008), Edinburgh City (2002, 2008), Gala Fairydean (1994, 2000, 2002), Preston Athletic (2000, 2002, 2008) and Spartans (2008).

In 2004, Threave Rovers pulled out of the league to concentrate their efforts on the South of Scotland Football League. This left the league with an uneven number of clubs, and they were expected to fill the vacancy in the summer of 2005, with Gala Rovers widely touted as likely candidates. However, this did not happen. The only change that happened at that year's AGM of the league, was that Tollcross United announced that they would be competing as Tynecastle from the 2005-06 season.

In 2006, Peebles Rovers merged with several local amateur sides to become Peebles, who took Rovers' place in the league. At the 2007 AGM, agreement was reached to admit the reserve side of Berwick Rangers as the twelfth member of the First Division. They also entered the League Cup, but no other cups during the 2007–08 season. However, the reserves lasted only one season following Berwick Rangers' relegation to the fourth tier of Scottish football. They were replaced by Stirling University, but returned for the 2010–11 season.

Gretna 2008 entered the league in 2008, formed in the wake of the financial disaster that befell Gretna's former club, Gretna F.C.. They initially had to play home matches in the nearby town of Annan, the club that took their place in the SFL.

The admission of Duns prior to the 2011–12 season, and then Burntisland Shipyard in 2012–13 brought the number of sides in the EoSFL to 26, the highest it had ever been.

Lowland League and decline[edit]

In 2013 the Lowland Football League was formed to act as a direct feeder to the Scottish Professional Football League (SPFL), covering an area of Scotland south of the Tay Road Bridge. Nine EoSFL clubs gained entry to the Lowland League, reducing the EoSFL to 20 teams. Hibernian entered a reserve team into the league at the start of the 2013–14 season, but withdrew after one season due to their first team being relegated.[1] Further departures saw the league merged into a single division of 16 teams in 2015–16, which was then reduced to just 11 teams during 2016–17 as more clubs moved to the Lowland League, Juniors or resigned.

Influx of Junior clubs[edit]

Beginning in 2017 the league experienced a resurgence with SJFA East Superleague champions Kelty Hearts joining from the Juniors. In April 2018, thirteen clubs - most of them from the East Juniors - were accepted into the league for the 2018-19 season, doubling the league's membership. When the window for applications was extended, even more clubs quit the Junior grade, bringing the total membership up to 39 clubs, split over three conferences.[2]

East of Scotland Football Association[edit]

While the EoSFL oversees the leagues and League Cup competitions; the East of Scotland Football Association (EoSFA) is a technically independent body, which organises all of the other cups. Most of the officials sit on both bodies, and the Executive Committee is a joint organisation. The current President of the EoSFA is Andy McDonald (of Edinburgh City), while the President of the EoSFL is John Greenhorn (of Ormiston).

There are 54 members of the East of Scotland Football Association (EoSFA). Four members play in the Scottish Professional Football League:

Hibernian [3][1] and Berwick Rangers have both fielded reserve teams in the EoSFL. The first teams of these four members have little involvement in EoSFA competitions. Youth teams of Hearts and Hibernian contest the East of Scotland Shield, while Berwick Rangers and Edinburgh City participate in the East of Scotland (City) Cup.

11 EoSFA members play in the Lowland League:

Spartans have also fielded a reserve team in the EoSFL.[4] The first teams of the Lowland League members contest the East of Scotland Qualifying Cup.

The EoSFL and EoSFA are full members of the Scottish Football Association.

Member clubs[edit]

The EoSFL's two-tier format, which began in 1987–88, was abolished for the 2015–16 season and replaced with a single division. For 2018–19 the league consists of thirty-nine teams split into three conferences running in parallel. Twenty-six clubs joined the league, including twenty-four applying to switch from the SJFA East Region, Dunipace from the SJFA West Region, Inverkeithing Hillfield Swifts, and Hawick Royal Albert who were relegated from the Lowland League.

Listed below are the 39 member clubs of the EoSFL for the 2018–19 season:

Cup competitions[edit]

  • Scottish Cup: For full SFA members and winners of the East of Scotland League, who all enter at the preliminary round stage. Knock-out tournament, with replays until the quarter-finals.
  • South Region Challenge Cup: This competition, introduced in 2007–08, replaced the old Scottish Qualifying Cup (South) under the new Scottish Cup format. It is for all clubs in the south of Scotland, aside from reserve teams, and thus it has 69 entrants - 16 from the Lowland League, 38 from the EoSFL, 14 from the SoSFL, and one amateur SFA club Glasgow University. It is a straight knock-out tournament, without replays.
  • Alex Jack Cup (formerly known as the East of Scotland Consolation Cup): Competition for the 30 EoSFL who are not competing in the Scottish Cup, usually played on the same weekends as Scottish Cup matches. Straight knock-out, without replays. The winner goes on to play in the South & East of Scotland Cup-Winners Shield against the Southern Counties FA Alba Cup winner for a place in the following season's Scottish Cup.
  • King Cup: Open to all 39 EoSFL clubs. Straight knock-out tournament without replays. The King Cup final is traditionally the last game of the season.
  • East of Scotland Qualifying Leagues: Open to all 39 EoSFL clubs. A pre-season warm-up competition added in 2011–12, these clubs are split into ten groups and each plays the others within their group once.
  • East of Scotland League Cup: Group winners and runners-up from the East of Scotland Qualifying Leagues enter this straight knock-out competition.
  • East of Scotland Qualifying Cup (sponsored by Football Nation): Competition for all 49 EoSFA members outwith the SPFL. Straight knock-out without replays.
  • East of Scotland (City) Cup: Finalists of the East of Scotland Qualifying Cup join Berwick Rangers and Edinburgh City in single-legged semi-finals and final, which go straight to penalties if drawn after 90 minutes. The 4 EoSFA members in the national leagues (Berwick, Hearts, Hibernian, Livingston) used to all enter, but now the Hearts and Hibernian reserve teams contest the East of Scotland Shield - albeit intermittently.
  • East of Scotland Shield: since the mid-1980s, this tournament has become a one-off match for youth/reserve teams of Hearts and Hibernian, however it was last held in 2015-16.

Youth competitions[edit]

Since 2014 the Lowland and East of Scotland Under 20 Development League has operated for the youth teams of clubs in the Lowland, East of Scotland, and South of Scotland Leagues, along with invited clubs. This replaced an earlier Under 19 league run by the EoSFL. Matches are normally played on Friday nights.

With the addition of new clubs to the East of Scotland League in 2018–19, the Under 20s League has increased in size from 13 to 25 teams and is now split into two conferences of 12 and 13 teams. At the end of the season there will be a play-off match between the winners of each conference at a neutral venue to determine the league champions. Competing in the 2018–19 season are:

Conference A

Bonnyton Thistle, Camelon, Cumbernauld Colts, Dunipace, Edinburgh University, Heriot Watt University, Hill of Beath Hawthorn, Kelty Hearts, Newtongrange Star, Preston Athletic, Tynecastle, Whitehill Welfare

Conference B

BSC Glasgow, Dalkeith Thistle, Edinburgh City, Edinburgh United, Edusport Academy, Haddington Athletic, Inverkeithing Hillfield Swifts, Lothian Thistle Hutchison Vale, Mid Annandale, Musselburgh Athletic, Spartans, Tranent Juniors, University of Stirling

These clubs also take part in the League Cup, Knock Out Cup and Challenge Cup, and prior to it becoming a competition for under 18 teams in 2018 - the annual SFA Scottish Youth Cup.

List of winners[edit]

  • 1923–24 Coldstream
  • 1924–25 Vale of Leithen
  • 1925–26 Civil Service Strollers
  • 1926–27 Civil Service Strollers
  • 1927–28 England Berwick Rangers
  • 1928–29 Peebles Rovers
  • 1929–30 Bathgate
  • 1930–31 Bathgate
  • 1931–32 Penicuik Athletic
  • 1932–33 Peebles Rovers
  • 1933–34 Peebles Rovers
  • 1934–35 Peebles Rovers
  • 1935–36 Peebles Rovers
  • 1936–37 Jedburgh Artisans
  • 1937–38 Penicuik Athletic
  • 1938–39 Bo'ness
  • 1939–40 – 1944–45 No league championship for the duration of the Second World War
  • 1945–46 Peebles Rovers
  • 1946–47 England Berwick Rangers
  • 1947–48 Hibernian 'B'
  • 1948–49 Hibernian 'B'
  • 1949–50 Heart of Midlothian 'B'
  • 1950–51 Hibernian 'B'
  • 1951–52 Hibernian 'B'
  • 1952–53 Hibernian 'B'
  • 1953–54 unfinished
  • 1954–55 Eyemouth United
  • 1955–56 Eyemouth United
  • 1956–57 Eyemouth United
  • 1957–58 unfinished
  • 1958–59 unfinished
  • 1959–60 unfinished
  • 1960–61 Gala Fairydean
  • 1961–62 Gala Fairydean
  • 1962–63 unfinished
  • 1963–64 Gala Fairydean
  • 1964–65 Gala Fairydean
  • 1965–66 Gala Fairydean
  • 1966–67 Hawick Royal Albert
  • 1967–68 Hawick Royal Albert
  • 1968–69 Gala Fairydean
  • 1969–70 Cowdenbeath 'A'
  • 1970–71 Eyemouth United
  • 1971–72 Spartans
  • 1972–73 Civil Service Strollers
  • 1973–74 Hawick Royal Albert
  • 1974–75 Selkirk
  • 1975–76 Selkirk
  • 1976–77 Selkirk
  • 1977–78 Vale of Leithen
  • 1978–79 Vale of Leithen
  • 1979–80 Whitehill Welfare
  • 1980–81 Whitehill Welfare
  • 1981–82 Whitehill Welfare
  • 1982–83 Whitehill Welfare
  • 1983–84 Spartans
  • 1984–85 Whitehill Welfare
  • 1985–86 Whitehill Welfare
  • 1986–87 Vale of Leithen
  • 1987–88
    • (Premier Division) - Whitehill Welfare
    • (1st Division) - Annan Athletic
  • 1988–89
  • 1989–90
    • (Premier Division) - Annan Athletic
    • (1st Division) - Coldstream
  • 1990–91
  • 1991–92
    • (Premier Division) - Easthouses Lily Miners Welfare
    • (1st Division) - Manor Thistle
  • 1992–93
    • (Premier Division) - Whitehill Welfare
    • (1st Division) - Civil Service Strollers
  • 1993–94
  • 1994–95
    • (Premier Division) - Whitehill Welfare
    • (1st Division) - Pencaitland
  • 1995–96
    • (Premier Division) - Whitehill Welfare
    • (1st Division) - Edinburgh City
  • 1996–97
  • 1997–98
    • (Premier Division) - Whitehill Welfare
    • (1st Division) - Peebles Rovers
  • 1998–99
    • (Premier Division) - Whitehill Welfare
    • (1st Division) - Easthouses Lily Miners Welfare
  • 1999–2000
  • 2000–01
  • 2001–02
  • 2002–03
  • 2003–04
  • 2004–05
  • 2005–06
  • 2006–07
  • 2007–08
  • 2008–09
    • (Premier Division) - Spartans
    • (1st Division) - Tynecastle
  • 2009–10
  • 2010–11
  • 2011–12
  • 2012–13
    • (Premier Division) - Whitehill Welfare
    • (1st Division) - Craigroyston
  • 2013–14
    • (Premier Division) - Lothian Thistle Hutchison Vale
    • (1st Division) - Hibernian reserves
  • 2014–15
    • (Premier Division) - Lothian Thistle Hutchison Vale
    • (1st Division) - Peebles Rovers
  • 2015–16 Leith Athletic
  • 2016–17 Lothian Thistle Hutchison Vale
  • 2017–18 Kelty Hearts
  • 2018–19
    • (Championship play-off) -
    • (Conference A) -
    • (Conference B) -
    • (Conference C) -

Total titles won[edit]

Rank Club East of Scotland League titles
(pre 1987–1988)
East of Scotland Premier Division titles
Total Number of Titles
1 Whitehill Welfare 6 10 16
2 Spartans 2 9 9
3 Gala Fairydean 6 2 8
4 Peebles Rovers 6 0 6
5 Hibernian 'B' 5 0 5
6= Annan Athletic 0 4 4
6= Eyemouth United 4 0 4
6= Vale of Leithen 4 0 4
9= Civil Service Strollers 3 0 3
9= Hawick Royal Albert 3 0 3
9= Lothian Thistle Hutchison Vale 0 3 3
9= Selkirk 3 0 3
13= Bathgate 2 0 2
13= Berwick Rangers 2 0 2
13= Penicuik Athletic 2 0 2
16= Bo'ness 1 0 1
16= Coldstream 1 0 1
16= Cowdenbeath 'A' 1 0 1
16= Easthouses Lily Miners Welfare 0 1 1
16= Edinburgh City 0 1 1
16= Heart of Midlothian 'B' 1 0 1
16= Jedburgh Artisans 1 0 1
16= Kelty Hearts 0 1 1
16= Leith Athletic 0 1 1
16= Stirling University 0 1 1


  1. ^ a b Brown, Anthony (6 June 2014). "Hibs quit East of Scotland League set-up". Edinburgh Evening News. Johnston Publishing. Retrieved 6 June 2014.
  2. ^ McLauchlin, Brian (8 June 2018). "East of Scotland League vote signals exodus of 24 junior clubs". BBC Sport. BBC. Retrieved 8 June 2018.
  3. ^ "Hibs secure berth in East of Scotland League". Edinburgh Evening News. Johnston Publishing. 7 June 2013. Retrieved 7 June 2013.
  4. ^ "East Seniors agree on a new setup". Edinburgh Evening News. Johnston Publishing. 28 June 2013. Retrieved 28 June 2013.

External links[edit]