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Cowlairs F.C.

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Full name  Cowlairs Football Club
Founded  1876
Dissolved  1896
Grounds  Glasgow, Springvale Park

Cowlairs Football Club was a 19th-century football club from the Cowlairs area of Glasgow in Scotland. The club were one of the founder members of the Scottish Football League in 1890, and played at Springvale Park during their time in the league.



Cowlairs F.C. were formed in 1876 by craftsmen from the Hyde Park and Cowlairs railway works in Springburn, an area that was growing rapidly due to its importance to Glasgow's railway industry. In its early years, the club was a member of the Glasgow FA and was looked on as a junior club. This was at a time when "junior" clubs were simply smaller and of limited standing in the game, and prior to the establishment of a separate Junior grade of competition. The club entered the Scottish Cup for the first time in 1880–81, reaching the fourth round.

By the latter part of the decade, Cowlairs' reputation was growing. In 1886–87 they entered the English FA Cup (which was open to Scottish clubs at this time), ironically losing out to fellow Glaswegians Rangers in their only match. The club had players of sufficient standing in this period to have two of their number gain international recognition for Scotland: Tom McInnes, capped once in 1889, and John McPherson, who won two of his nine caps while at Cowlairs, in 1889 and 1890.

Cowlairs was one of the clubs which together formed the Scottish League, but finished bottom of the table at the end of its first season, not helped by having four points deducted for fielding ineligible players. With the club also facing accusations of professionalism (which had yet to be legalised in Scottish football) following an inspection of clubs' books by the League, it was unsurprising that Cowlairs was unsuccessful in its re-election vote, losing out to Leith Athletic. Despite not being in any league competition the following season, the club enjoyed its longest Scottish Cup run, losing to Celtic in the quarter finals.

Prior to the 1892–93 season Cowlairs joined the Scottish Alliance, finishing as champions. Although they club failed to be elected back to the top flight of the Scottish League at the season's end, it was instead chosen to join the new Division Two for the 1893–94 season. Cowlairs were joined by relegated clubs Clyde and Abercorn, Scottish Alliance League clubs Thistle, Greenock Morton, Motherwell, Northern, Partick Thistle and Port Glasgow Athletic, as well as Hibernian. Cowlairs lost 1–0 in the final of the 1894 Glasgow Cup to Rangers.

Cowlairs' return to League football started well, securing runners-up spot that season to Hibernian. However, the club were not promoted to Division One, missing out following a ballot the ballot to third-placed Clyde. They continued to be beset by financial and administrative problems, and after finishing bottom of Division Two in 1895–96, the club were again voted out of the league. They subsequently left Springvale Park and returned to Gourlay Park. The club closed down in 1896.


Cowlairs utilised a wide variety of colour schemes in its short existence, including:

  • 1876 Light blue shirts, white shorts.
  • 1876–1880 White shirts, white shorts, black socks.
  • 1880–1886 Royal blue shirts, white shorts, red socks.
  • 1886–1887 Chocolate and light blue halved shirts, white shorts, chocolate socks with light blue trim.
  • 1888–1892 White shirts, dark blue shorts, dark blue socks.
  • 1892 Red shirts, white shorts.
  • 1893–1895 Red shirts, navy blue shorts, navy blue socks.
  • Ground

    Cowlairs originally played at Gourlay Park, but upon joining the Scottish Football League, moved to Springvale Park. After leaving the league in 1895, they returned to Gourlay Park.


  • Scottish Alliance League
  • Champions 1892–93
  • North Eastern Cup
  • Winners 1883, 1884, 1886, 1887, 1888, 1889
  • References

    Cowlairs F.C. Wikipedia

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