Division has its roots in the Eastern League which was formed after World War
Two comprising of clubs who were denied their places in the newly formed A and
The 1945-46 season had still been prepared as wartime football as the war although over in Europe still continuing in the Pacific. With more clubs re-emerging after wartime shutdown it was decided to operate two divisions under the control of the Scottish League referred to as Division A with sixteen teams and Division B with fourteen teams.
This however left a hand full of the small clubs that the Scottish League frankly hoped would go away. As full members of the Scottish League they were not, for whatever reason, included in either of the two divisions. The solution to this was the formation of the Eastern League. It was formed to be a temporary post-war solution with the clubs accepting this demotion after assurances over the word “temporary”. The league was made up with Dundee Reserves, Dundee United Reserves, and the remaining small clubs Brechin City, East Stirlingshire, Edinburgh City, Forfar Athletic, Leith Athletic, Montrose, and Stirling Albion. The word “temporary” however was soon to be questioned.
divisions were supposed to be temporary only until hostilities were over, but
within days of the season’s start Japan surrendered. This led to a need to
reorganise the structure of the league, for the following season, back to a
more recognisable pre-war form.
This could not be
achieved by promotion and relegation as it was not in operation and with all
but two of the pre-war 38 members of the Scottish League re-emerging (King’s
Park and St Bernard’s did not survive the war years), there was the question of
what to do with the extra clubs.
the bigger clubs and leading Scottish League officials were looking for a way
of reforming the size of the league, and now they had their chance.
the Football League had agreed in the interest of fairness that season 1946-47
should start, as would 1939-40 if not for the war but thoughts in Scotland were
the formation of a 16 or 14 team Super League based on ground capacity and
crowd potential were held in the winter of 1946 with no relegation or promotion
from other leagues without a strong case for inclusion. This idea however came
to nothing, as clubs that did not qualify would not vote to accept the idea of
no promotion from a second division.
Instead the Divisions were named A and B to mark the fact that they bore no resemblance to the pre-war first and second, and to the injustice of Ayr United, Alloa Athletic, Cowdenbeath, Queen of the South, and St Johnstone, who lost their position held pre-war in the First Division and competed in Division B. The idea of making the numbers of Division B to 16 teams was suggested but did not happen instead C Division was formed made up of the Eastern League clubs and reserve sides of the two Dundee clubs and St Johnstone. To keep the small clubs of C Division content the promise of promotion to B Division was made if one of them won the C Division title.
on the cards again for the 1947-48 season when it was thought that the optimum
formula for Scottish football was two divisions of sixteen teams to make the
League Cup, which was growing in popularity every season, more manageable.
Albion was promoted as Champions with no club relegated and Leith Athletic were readmitted to B Division after finishing third
behind Dundee Reserves. A further four reserve sides were added to C Division.
Stranraer applied for membership but it was turned down due to geographic
Stirlingshire promoted to B Division as champions of the C Division
in place of Leith
Athletic who were relegated.
and B Divisions remained unchanged with the exception of Forfar Athletic who were C
Division champions replacing East Stirlingshire. The League Management
Committee decided to extend and divide C Division into two sections: North and
East containing Brechin City, East Stirlingshire, Leith Athletic, and Montrose
plus twelve reserve sides, and the South and West section containing only one
none reserve side amongst its eighteen members in Stranraer who suddenly less
geographical inaccessible were admitted in May 1949 in place of Edinburgh City
who resigned. This new arrangement meant that to win promotion to B Division
one of the smaller clubs would have to finish above reserve sides of Aberdeen,
Celtic, Heart of Midlothian, Hibernian, and Rangers making promotion more
difficult, which was exactly the idea.
East Stirlingshire put forward the idea of, Brechin City, Montrose, Leith
Athletic, and themselves been included in a twenty team B Division with little
support it never reached the voting stage. East Stirlingshire transferred to
the South and West section to join Stranraer.
problems for C Division sides arose when it was realised that the possibility
of two of the smaller clubs winning their respective sections and been eligible
for promotion. To guard against this the League Management Committee agreed
that promotion would only be granted if the ground of any such club were
suitable for holding B Division matches.
The only change amongst the C Division clubs was the entry of Berwick Rangers
who were placed in the North and East Section.
At the A.G.M of 1952 East Fife had a proposal for two Divisions of 20 and 18, East Stirlingshire wanted 16 and 22, Stenhousemuir wanted 16 and two regional divisions of 12 and Stirling Albion a Division of 42 clubs to include senior clubs from the new towns of Cumbernauld, East Kilbride, Glenrothes and Livingston.
The number of League clubs remained unchanged but a number of reserve sides
1953-54: Leith Athletic were expelled from the North and East section for flatly refusing to play after the League turned down their desperate plea for reorganisation. St Johnstone reserves resigned.
1954-55: Brechin City
were promoted as champions to B Division with Dumbarton being relegated to the
South and West section where they joined Stranraer. East Stirlingshire
transferred to the North and East Section to join Berwick Rangers and Montrose.
At the end
of season 1954-55 the first major reorganisation of the Scottish Football League
took place after ten years. The dissatisfaction of the bigger clubs towards
reserve team football where they had to compete in one of the C Division
sections had brought about change. The League Management Committee suggested
two B Divisions of 11 and 10 clubs with the smaller clubs in the C Division
moving up, but there was little enthusiasm for this. Berwick Rangers nearly got
18 and 19 through at the A.G.M but failed by one vote, 24 to 13 to obtain the
necessary two-thirds majority. Views changed after it was mentioned by Mr John
Thompson of Berwick Rangers that several sides namely Rangers, Heart of
Midlothian, Hibernian, Aberdeen, Clyde, Partick Thistle, and St Mirren were not
going to enter reserve teams in the C Divisions for the following season. At a
recalled general meeting a decision was taken to go to two divisions of 18 and
19 clubs with the five smaller clubs finally reaching their aim of B Division