The charm of team names in Scottish football league
published : 25 Mar 2023 at 05:01
newspaper section: Sports
writer: Nobby Piles
For all the criticism of the Scottish League, there is no disputing they boast some of the most attractive club names in football.
There has been a new addition this season with the delightful Bonnyrigg Rose Athletic joining the ranks of League Two after winning promotion from the Lowland League.
It is a great achievement for such a small club which hails from the town of the Bonnyrigg just 13km south of Edinburgh.
Nicknamed "The Rose," they play at New Dundas Park stadium which has a capacity of just 2,200.
Bonnyrigg have found it tough-going playing at this higher level and are currently in 10th and bottom place in League Two after seven wins, seven draws and 15 defeats.
There is hope, however, as they are just two points behind Albion Rovers who they happen to be meeting at Albion's Cliftonhill stadium this afternoon in a crucial game for both sides.
One claim to fame for Bonnyrigg is that back in the early 1950s, a certain Sean Connery played on the right wing for a couple of seasons before he moved on to much bigger wage packets as 007.
Another former player was the great John White who started his career at Bonnyrigg and went on to star for Tottenham Hotspur and Scotland before he was tragically killed by lightning.
A much better-known and bigger club with an equally magnificent name which has a truly poetic ring is Heart of Midlothian.
The name is derived from an old dance hall in Edinburgh called the Heart of Midlothian Dancing Club, which the founders visited for entertainment.
Other Scottish club names which catch the eye are Queen of the South, Inverness Caledonian Thistle, Hamilton Academicals and Partick Thistle. They are all names that conjure up an unmistakable Caledonian flavour.
Queen of the South hail from the town of Dumfries in southern Scotland near the England border.
The club's name is derived from the town's nickname "Queen of the South." They are known to fans as simply Queens.
Inverness Caledonian Thistle is another stirring name.
The club was formed in 1994 as a result of a merger between Caledonian FC and Inverness Thistle FC.
They were originally called Caledonian Thistle but added Inverness in 1996, and that's the way it has stayed, although they are often referred to as "Caley Thistle."
The club features in one of the most famous football headlines ever written.
It followed a remarkable result in 2000 when the part-timers travelled to Parkhead and defeated huge favourites Celtic 3-1 in the Scottish Cup.
It prompted the magnificent headline in the Scottish Sun: "Super Caley Go Ballistic, Celtic Are Atrocious."
Another team named after the prickly plant are Partick Thistle, among whose supporters are comedian Billy Connolly who joked in the early days: "For years I thought the club's name was Partick Thistle Nil."
A sense of humour certainly helps if you support a team like the "Jags."
However, they are having a decent season and are currently third in the second-tier Scottish Championship.
Another evocative name is Raith Rovers whose home is the industrial town of Kirkcaldy.
There's no such place as Raith, but after one victory a BBC football commentator came out with "they will be dancing in the streets of Raith tonight."
The club gets its name from the Laird of Raith, whose land they used to play on in the old days.
Raith are the only football team on record that has been shipwrecked.
Their boat ran aground off the Canary Islands back in 1920 and the entire team were rescued by lifeboats.
Sadly, not all the clubs with great names survive.
There used to be a team called Third Lanark, named after the Third Lanarkshire Volunteers.
They were sometimes known as the Hi-Hi as you could get a good view of Glasgow from their ground, situated on a hill.
That was the only elevated aspect of the club, however, as they were usually near the bottom of the table and went bust in 1967.
Let's hope Bonnyyrigg escape relegation so their name will grace the Scottish League for at least another season.