Lowland Football League
|Other club(s) from||England (1 team)|
|Number of teams||17|
|Level on pyramid||5|
|Promotion to||Scottish League Two|
|Relegation to||East of Scotland Football League|
South of Scotland Football League
West of Scotland Football League
|Domestic cup(s)||Scottish Cup|
South Region Challenge Cup
Scottish Challenge Cup (top 4)
Scottish League Cup (champions)
|League cup(s)||Lowland League Cup|
|Current champions||Kelty Hearts (1st title) |
|Most championships||Edinburgh City|
|Current: 2020–21 Lowland Football League|
The Scottish Lowland Football League (SLFL) (commonly known as the Lowland League) is a football league operating in central and southern Scotland. 17 teams currently compete in the league with teams drawn from the Lowlands area of Scotland.
The Lowland League is the fifth tier of the Scottish football pyramid, on a par with the Highland League and above the three Lowlands-based regional leagues at tier six. As a creation of the Scottish Football Association, the Lowland League is a full member of the same organisation.
Teams play each other twice in the league (home and away), receiving three points for a win and one point for a draw. No points are awarded for a loss. At the end of each season, the club with the most points is crowned Lowland League champions. If points are equal, goal difference, and then goals scored determines the champion. If this still does not result in a winner, the tied teams must take part in a championship play-off match at a neutral venue to determine the final placings.
Promotion and relegation
Since 2014–15, promotion to the Scottish Professional Football League is via an annual play-off, beginning with the Lowland League champions facing the champions of the Highland Football League over two legs (home and away). There is no away goals rule so if scores are equal on aggregate after full-time in the second leg, the game will go to extra time, and then penalties if required. The winners will then face a play-off against the bottom club in League Two with the same rules applying. If the League Two clubs loses the play-off final, they are relegated to the Lowland League if they are south of 56.4513N latitude (middle of the Tay Road Bridge).
Promotion to the Lowland League is via a three match round robin play-off between the winners of the East of Scotland Football League, South of Scotland Football League, and West of Scotland Football League, subject to their respective champions meeting league membership criteria. If two clubs meet the criteria they will face each other home and away, if only one club meets the criteria they will be promoted without a play-off, however if no club meets the criteria there will be no promotion to the Lowland League.
Based on the number of clubs remaining after the results of promotion to and from the league are known, the bottom and possibly second-bottom placed clubs will be relegated to the East of Scotland Football League, South of Scotland Football League, or West of Scotland Football League depending on their geographical location.
All Lowland League clubs are full members of the Scottish Football Association and qualify automatically for the first round of the Scottish Cup. The league champions and the runner-up receive a bye into the cup's second round.
The furthest a Lowland League team has reached in the Scottish Cup is the fifth round (last 16); The Spartans in 2014–15 (lost 1–0 to Berwick Rangers in a replay), East Kilbride in 2015–16 (lost 2–0 to Celtic) and BSC Glasgow in 2019–20 (lost 4–1 to Hibernian).
The Lowland Football League was intended on helping institute a football pyramid including promotion and relegation from Scottish football's national divisions down to its junior and amateur levels by the Scottish Football Association.
The Lowland League was founded by a unanimous vote of members of the Scottish Football Association (SFA) on 11 June 2013, The league would be composed of teams drawn from the East of Scotland, South of Scotland, and junior leagues, who met on 17 June 2013 to elect between them the founder-members of the new league.
While most clubs were invited to submit bids to join, Preston Athletic, The Spartans and Threave Rovers were offered automatic entry as they were already fully licensed by the SFA. While 27 clubs had registered their interest, the Lowland League received 17 applications to join. After the meeting on 17 June, it was announced there would be 12 teams in the league, and that they would be: Dalbeattie Star, East Kilbride, Edinburgh City, Gala Fairydean Rovers, Gretna 2008, Preston Athletic, Selkirk, The Spartans, Threave Rovers, University of Stirling, Vale of Leithen, and Whitehill Welfare.
Subsequent seasons saw the number of participating clubs increase. Two clubs, Edinburgh University and BSC Glasgow, were admitted to the league for the 2014–15 season. They were joined the following season by Cumbernauld Colts. Civil Service Strollers and Hawick Royal Albert joined in June 2016, making it a 16-team league.
The end of the 2015–16 season was the first time that founding members would leave the league; Edinburgh City became the first club to be promoted to the SPFL, while Threave Rovers declined the opportunity to re-apply to the league after finishing bottom and rejoined the South of Scotland Football League. The same season also saw East Stirlingshire become the first club relegated into the league from Scottish League Two.
Another founding member would leave the league at the end of the 2016-17 season as Preston Athletic were relegated to the East of Scotland League. They were replaced by Edusport Academy who became the first club to gain promotion from the South of Scotland League.
In 2017–18 the first promotion play-off took place between the champions of the East of Scotland and South of Scotland leagues, with former SJFA East Region club Kelty Hearts winning 10–0 on aggregate over Threave Rovers to gain promotion.
Decline of Selkirk
During the 2018–19 season Selkirk resigned their membership in the league owing to insurmountable difficulties. It was agreed by the Lowland League board that all fixtures played by and to be played by Selkirk in 2018–19 would be expunged from the record along with any other data involving Selkirk for that season. The Lowland League moved forward with 15 clubs, however Whitehill Welfare, who finished bottom in the season's competition, were still relegated to the East of Scotland League. East of Scotland champions Bonnyrigg Rose were promoted to the league after gaining their SFA membership. Berwick Rangers became the second club to be relegated into the league from the SPFL, having lost the League Two play-off against Cove Rangers.
At the start of the 2019–20 season Edusport Academy rebranded the club as the Caledonian Braves following a vote online by members of the Our Football Club.com project.  The 2019–20 league season was suspended on 13 March 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. A month later, the competition was ended with immediate effect with Kelty Hearts being declared champions on a points per game average based on the current standings. Vale of Leithen who were bottom of the league were also spared relegation.
On 14 April 2020, the Lowland League announced it had approved 67 applications to join the new West of Scotland Football League, which included all 63 clubs from the Scottish Junior Football Association's West Region, and four others. Bonnyton Thistle already a member of the South of Scotland League decided to move due to being based in Kilmarnock. The West of Scotland League will act as a feeder league on the same tier as the East of Scotland Football League and South of Scotland Football League.
|Berwick Rangers||Berwick-upon-Tweed||Shielfield Park||4,099||1,366|
|Bo'ness United||Bo'ness||Newtown Park||2,500||0|
|Bonnyrigg Rose Athletic||Bonnyrigg||New Dundas Park||2,200||0|
|BSC Glasgow||Alloa||Recreation Park[a]||3,100||919|
|Caledonian Braves||Motherwell||Alliance Park||500||100|
|Civil Service Strollers||Edinburgh||Christie Gillies Park||1,569||100|
|Cumbernauld Colts||Cumbernauld||Broadwood Stadium||8,086||8,086|
|Dalbeattie Star||Dalbeattie||Islecroft Stadium||1,320||100|
|East Kilbride||East Kilbride||K Park||660||400|
|East Stirlingshire||Falkirk||Falkirk Stadium[b]||7,937||7,937|
|Edinburgh University||Edinburgh||East Peffermill Stadium||1,100||100|
|Gala Fairydean Rovers||Galashiels||3G Arena, Netherdale||2,000||500|
|Gretna 2008||Gretna||Raydale Park||1,030||138|
|Kelty Hearts||Kelty||New Central Park||2,660||353|
|The Spartans||Edinburgh||Ainslie Park||3,612||534|
|University of Stirling||Stirling||Forthbank Stadium[c]||3,808||2,508|
|Vale of Leithen||Innerleithen||Victoria Park||1,500||0|
All grounds are equipped with floodlights.
- Promoted to the SPFL
- Preston Athletic (East of Scotland League First Division Conference B)
- Hawick Royal Albert United (East of Scotland League First Division Conference B)
- Whitehill Welfare (East of Scotland League Premier Division)
|2013–14||The Spartans||University of Stirling||Does not appear||Does not appear|
|2014–15||Edinburgh City||East Kilbride||Does not appear||Does not appear|
|2015–16||Edinburgh City * (2)||The Spartans||Threave Rovers S||Does not appear|
|2016–17||East Kilbride||East Stirlingshire||Preston Athletic E||Does not appear|
|2017–18||The Spartans (2)||East Kilbride (2)||Hawick Royal Albert E||Kelty Hearts E|
|2018–19||East Kilbride (2)||BSC Glasgow||Whitehill Welfare E||Does not appear|
|2019–20||Kelty Hearts†||Bonnyrigg Rose||Does not appear||Does not appear|
- * Team promoted to Scottish League Two
- E Team relegated to or promoted from the East of Scotland Football League
- S Team relegated to the South of Scotland Football League
- Biggest home win
- Kelty Hearts 11-0 Vale of Leithen, 14 December 2019
- Biggest away win
- Hawick Royal Albert 0–10 Selkirk, 2 August 2017
- Most goals in a game
- The Spartans 11–2 Selkirk, 7 December 2013
- Most points in a season
- 75; East Kilbride, 2016-17
- Fewest points in a season
- 5; Selkirk, 2013-14[a]
- Longest unbeaten run in a season
- 21; Kelty Hearts, 2019–20
- Most wins in a season
- 24; Edinburgh City, 2015-16 and East Kilbride, 2016-17
- Fewest wins in a season
- 1; Hawick Royal Albert, 2017-18
- Most draws in a season
- 10; University of Stirling, 2018-19
- Most defeats in a season
- 26; Hawick Royal Albert, 2017-18
- Fewest defeats in a season
- 1; Edinburgh City, 2014-15 and Kelty Hearts, 2019-20
- Most goals scored in a season
- 107; East Stirlingshire, 2016-17
- Fewest goals scored in a season
- 18; Hawick Royal Albert, 2017-18, Edinburgh University and Vale of Leithen, 2019-20
- Most goals conceded in a season
- 108; Hawick Royal Albert, 2017-18
- Fewest goals conceded in a season
- 12; East Kilbride, 2018-19
- Highest attendance
- 1,510; Kelty Hearts 3–2 Bonnyrigg Rose Athletic, 29 February 2020
- Inaugural league season which consisted of 12 teams. Hawick Royal Albert's 6 points from 30 games in 2017-18 is fewer points per game.
The longest-serving manager at a Lowland League club is Douglas Samuel, who has managed The Spartans since 2012. Spartans won the inaugural league title during the 2013-14 season and clinched their second title in 2018.
|Gary Jardine||Edinburgh City||2||2014–15, 2015–16|
|Douglas Samuel||The Spartans||2013–14, 2017–18|
|Martin Lauchlan||East Kilbride||1||2016–17|
|Stuart Malcolm||East Kilbride||2018–19|
|Barry Ferguson||Kelty Hearts||2019–20|
|Nat.||Name||Club||Appointed||Time as manager|
|Douglas Samuel||The Spartans||5 June 2012||8 years, 272 days|
|Dorian Ogunro||Edinburgh University||15 June 2013||7 years, 262 days|
|Chris Anderson||Vale of Leithen||27 April 2015||5 years, 311 days|
|Craig McKinlay||Cumbernauld Colts||8 June 2015||5 years, 269 days|
|Ricky Waddell||Caledonian Braves||1 September 2015||5 years, 184 days|
|Stephen Swift||BSC Glasgow||12 April 2017||3 years, 326 days|
|Chris Geddes||Stirling University||30 June 2017||3 years, 247 days|
|Gary Jardine||Civil Service Strollers||23 May 2018||2 years, 285 days|
|Derek Ure||East Stirlingshire||6 September 2018||2 years, 179 days|
|Barry Ferguson||Kelty Hearts||18 October 2018||2 years, 137 days|
|Robbie Horn||Bonnyrigg Rose Athletic||8 November 2018||2 years, 116 days|
|Max Christie||Bo'ness United||30 January 2019||2 years, 33 days|
|Ritchie Maxwell||Dalbeattie Star||9 May 2019||1 year, 299 days|
|Neil Hastings||Gala Fairydean Rovers||23 May 2019||1 year, 285 days|
|Ian Little||Berwick Rangers||3 June 2019||1 year, 274 days|
|Rowan Alexander||Gretna 2008||3 December 2019||1 year, 91 days|
|Stephen Aitken||East Kilbride||29 May 2020||279 days|
The Lowlands Development League operates for the Under 20s youth teams of clubs in the Lowland, East of Scotland, South of Scotland and West of Scotland Leagues, along with other invited clubs. Originally named the Lowland and East of Scotland Under 20 Development League when it began in 2014, this replaced an earlier Under 19 league run by the East of Scotland League. Matches are normally played on Friday nights.
The Under 20s league expanded to 31 teams for the 2019–20 season, split into two conferences, having already increased in size from 13 to 23 teams thanks to the addition of new clubs to the East of Scotland League in 2018–19. 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.
From the 2020-21 season, there is a newly formed West Conference due to the introduction of the West of Scotland League within the Scottish football pyramid. The East Conference will consist of 30 teams and the West Conference will consist of 38. There will be two conferences in the East with a 16-14 split and three conferences in the West with a split of 14-12-12.
From the 2018–19 season, the league was split into two conferences. Conference B winners Spartans won their second title after beating Conference A winners Kelty Hearts in a play-off match which determined the overall league champions.
|2014–15||The Spartans||Whitehill Welfare|
|2015–16||Preston Athletic||The Spartans|
|2016–17||East Kilbride||The Spartans|
|2017–18||Heriot-Watt University||Cumbernauld Colts|
|2018–19||The Spartans (2)||Kelty Hearts|
Lowland League Cup
This 16 team straight knock-out tournament takes place over four weekends at the end of the league season. The league champion has the right to withdraw from the competition to concentrate on the Scottish League Two play-offs.
|2013–14||University of Stirling||5–2||Preston Athletic|
|2014–15||East Kilbride||3–1||Gretna 2008|
|2015–16||East Kilbride||0–0 AET
4–2 on penalties
|2016–17||The Spartans||3–0||BSC Glasgow|
|2018–19||BSC Glasgow||2–1||East Stirlingshire|
On 24 September 2013, the Scottish Sun newspaper announced it was sponsoring the league. The league was then sponsored by Ferrari Packaging on a two-year agreement, which was extended to cover the 2017–18 season. In August 2018, GeoSonic, the Alloa-based sonic drilling contractor, concluded a one-year deal to become the new title sponsor of the Scottish Lowland Football League for the 2018-19 season.
On 19 September 2018, the SLFL agreed a comprehensive media partnership with RockSport Radio but this has since ended.
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- "CLUB ANNOUNCEMENT - Bonnyrigg Rose Athletic granted SFA membership - News - Bonnyrigg Rose Athletic - Bonnyrigg Rose Athletic FC". www.bonnyriggrosefc.co.uk. Retrieved 14 June 2019.
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- "Berwick Rangers 0-3 Cove Rangers (agg 0-7): Cove replace Berwick in senior set-up". 18 May 2019. Retrieved 27 June 2019.
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- "Kelty Hearts named champions as Lowland League called early". BBC Sport. 13 April 2020. Retrieved 13 April 2020.
- "Season Ends With Immediate Effect - Kelty Hearts crowned as champions". Scottish Lowland League. 13 April 2020. Retrieved 13 April 2020.
- "Pyramid Update - 67 Applications Approved". Scottish Lowland League. 14 April 2020. Retrieved 7 May 2020.
- "Linlithgow Rose boss Brown Ferguson applauds Lowland League for authorising Bo'ness United promotion". www.linlithgowgazette.co.uk. Retrieved 19 June 2020.
- "Day of destiny as Bo'ness Utd set for Lowland League place". www.falkirkherald.co.uk. Retrieved 19 June 2020.
- "Goal-fest sees Spartans shell-shock Selkirk in 11-2 rout | The Spartans FC Official Website – Live together. Play together. Win together". Retrieved 20 January 2020.
- "Match Attendance: 1510". Twitter. Kelty Hearts FC. Retrieved 29 February 2020.
- "New Spartans boss Samuel praises Uni for first chance". www.edinburghnews.scotsman.com. Retrieved 3 September 2020.
- "Spartans win first Lowland League". BBC Sport. Retrieved 3 September 2020.
- Park, Michael (15 April 2018). "THE SPARTANS ARE CHAMPIONS!". Scottish Lowland League. Retrieved 3 September 2020.
- Smith, Mike (23 May 2018). "Strollers Appoint Gary Jardine as Manager". The Edinburgh Reporter. Retrieved 3 September 2020.
- Thomson, Paul (1 April 2017). "East Kilbride are Lowland League champions after thumping win at Gala". Daily Record. Retrieved 3 September 2020.
- "East Kilbride clinch Lowland League title with win over Spartans". www.edinburghnews.scotsman.com. Retrieved 3 September 2020.
- Thomson, Paul (14 November 2019). "Forfar boss Stuart Malcolm on his regrets and achievements at East Kilbride". Daily Record. Retrieved 3 September 2020.
- "Lowland Development League update". Twitter. Retrieved 16 June 2020.
- "A further update ahead of the 2020/21 Development League". Twitter. Retrieved 30 June 2020.
- Muir, Matthew. "Lowlands Development Teams Confirmed as League Set-Up is Revealed". www.youthfootballscotland.co.uk. Retrieved 2 July 2020.
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- "2017-2018 Under 20 League - League tables - East of Scotland Football Association & League". www.eosfl.com. Retrieved 10 February 2021.
- "It's Title-tastic for triumphant Spartans 20s who seal silverware quartet | The Spartans FC Official Website – Live together. Play together. Win together". Retrieved 10 February 2021.
- Club, University of Stirling Football (14 April 2020). "Congratulations boys pic.twitter.com/820ABCxp5M". @StirlingUniFC. Retrieved 6 May 2020.
- Team, Media (6 February 2021). "Scottish Lowlands Development League will not start". Scottish Lowland League. Retrieved 6 February 2021.
- "Drive to attract sponsor takes time, says SFA chief Stewart Regan". 23 September 2013. Retrieved 9 January 2020.
- Thomson, Paul (30 July 2015). "East Kilbride packaging firm wrap up sponsorship deal with Lowland League". Daily Record. Glasgow. Retrieved 27 May 2016.
- "Lowland League Announces New Title Sponsor - Scottish Lowland League". Scottish Lowland League. 24 August 2018. Retrieved 14 September 2018.
- "Lowland League Catchup (@OfficialCatchup) | Twitter". twitter.com. Retrieved 27 February 2019.
- "News - Scottish Lowland League". Scottish Lowland League. Retrieved 29 September 2018.
- "Lowland League & Rocksport Sign Media Partnership - Scottish Lowland League". Scottish Lowland League. 19 September 2018. Retrieved 21 September 2018.