A historical ranking of football clubs competing in Scotland.
[Updated to: end of 2012-2013 season]
Heart of Midlothian
|Rank||Second Tier Clubs||Points|
|Rank||Third Tier Clubs||Points|
|Queen of the South
|Rank||Fourth Tier Clubs||Points|
Inverness & Caledonian Thistle
|Rank||Non-league & Defunct Clubs with a Score||Points|
Clydebank (1st & 2nd clubs)
Vale of Leven
Port Glasgow Athletic
The About A Ball Ranking is a progressive points scoring system devised by our statisticians to grade each league club according to their historical achievements since the beginning of organised football in that country. We felt such a ranking was necessary in order to help settle age old debates about which is the biggest/best club in each country and which ones historically merit a top division place. Of course, there are only a limited number of places available in the top division of any given country, so who really are the sleeping giants in the lower divisions and which clubs are currently flying well above their historical status?
NOTE: We have limited this ranking to teams currently competing in the top national divisions to keep it relevant to the modern day. There is no point in saying that a now defunct or amateur club is one of the biggest clubs in the country. For example, Third Lanark and Airdrieonians are two of the famous old names in Scottish football but they both folded and dropped out of the league. The new Airdrie United club have not been awarded the points obtained by Airdrieonians because they actually bought out Clydebank and relocated them to Airdrie. We have now included a section at the bottom of the table listing the points achieved by former league clubs.
NOTE: National championships have been contested in Scotland since the 1890/91 season when eleven teams competed for the inaugural title. The second division began in 1893/94 and the first cup competition was held in 1874.
How it works
Points awarded as follows:
|Champions Cup Win||+15|
|Other European Trophy Win||+10|
|FA Cup Win||+6|
|League Cup Win||+3|
|Second Level Division Win||+3|
|Lower Division Win||+1|
|Season in top division||+2|
|Season in 2nd division||+1|
|Bonuses: Super Cup; Club Cup; Double||+1|
Notes: The scores include any points scored by a club under a former name. In cases where clubs have merged or re-formed, the new club has been awarded the points accumulated by its previous incarnations wherever there is a continuation or substantial link between the old and new clubs.
Criticisms and Improvements
There is no account taken of when the points were scored so a team (i.e. Queen’s Park) could have scored most of their points a long time ago but are still ranked high up today. The teams did not all join the league at the same time so founder members such as Hearts have had a much longer period in which to accumulate points than the newer members. The old clubs will have benefited from the points for a large number of seasons in the top divisions and therefore be above clubs with a more impressive record over a shorter period. Our system only takes account of on the pitch successes and not off the pitch factors such as attendance and annual budget which could indicate a big club. The About a Ball system could be improved (and also complicated) by including points for average attendances and annual budget/profit, dividing points totals by the number of years clubs have been in the league, or by giving less weight to points scored a long time ago. However, we feel that the passage of time should not be taken into account because staying power and longevity are indicators of a great club. Equally, small clubs enjoying a current period of success are not guaranteed to remain big. All in all, we are satisfied that the ranking shows the relative playing merits of the current league clubs based on historical success, and identifies clubs currently under or over achieving.
An emphatic duopoly! Rangers and Celtic have achieved scores far higher than those reached by the leading clubs in any other country. This is mainly down to the large number of league championships and doubles won by each club, and the near total dominance they have enjoyed since competitive football began in Scotland. Rangers are still comfortably ahead of Celtic, but the gap has closed over the past couple of seasons as Rangers have been out of the top flight for the first time in their distinguished history, and it will probably continue to close further until their return. There is then a huge gap to the other clubs who are fairly closely grouped together. Hearts benefit from having been around longer then Aberdeen to just pip them into third place.
Of the historic top twelve clubs, only Clyde, Rangers, Falkirk and Dundee are outside the top division in the 2013-14 season; Dundee and Falkirk are competing at the second level, Rangers are currently down in the third following their liquidation and resumption in the bottom tier for the start of the 2012-13 season and Clyde have slumped to the fourth. Two of the four clubs that have taken their places in the top flight (Dundee United and St Johnstone) are now playing at one level higher than their traditional second tier status. The other two (Inverness & Caledonian Thistle and Ross County) are relative newcomers to the Scottish league and have shot up through the system to a heady three levels above their historic status. Livingston, currently in the second tier, is the only other club that is more than one level about it’s historical status.
NOTE: Dundee United were previously known as Dundee Hibernian and spent 6 seasons in the league under this name. Livingston have been awarded the points obtained under their previous incarnation as Meadowbank Thistle.
It is strictly forbidden to copy or reproduce these tables without permission. Any breach of copyright may lead to prosecution. The tables will be updated annually and any feedback on the results/corrections to data is welcome.