Cowlairs F.C.

Cowlairs F.C.
Full name Cowlairs Football Club
Founded 1876
Dissolved 1896
Ground Springfield Park, Glasgow (1890–1895)

Cowlairs Football Club was a 19th century football club from Glasgow, Scotland. One of the founder members of the Scottish Football League in 1890, the club was based in Cowlairs, in the Springburn area of the city.



Cowlairs FC was formed in 1876, in an area that was growing rapidly due to its importance to Glasgow's railway industry. In its early years it was a member of the West of Scotland FA and was looked on as a junior club. This was at a time when "junior" was merely a term used to describe smaller clubs 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: Tommy 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.

For season 1892–93, 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 season 1893–94. 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, although it was not elected to Division One. It continued to be beset by financial and administrative problems, however, and after another last-placed finish in 1895, it was once again voted out of League membership. This effectively brought an end to Cowlairs' brief career, the club closing 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.


In its early years, Cowlairs played home matches at Gourlay Park. Indicative of the more informal standards of the day, the club actually had no permanent home ground secured at the time of the co-founding the Scottish League, but soon after settled at nearby Springfield Park, home for the duration of its League membership.

1876–1890: Gourlay Park. 1890–1895: Springfield Park. 1895–1896: Arrol Park.


External links

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