The Scottish Football Association Challenge Cup, 1873-1900

1874- Queen's Park 2 Clydesdale 0 
16 teams entered the inaugural Scottish Football Association Challenge Cup.
The first Scottish final was played at Queen's Park's Hampden (1) in front of 2,500 spectators.  

1875- Queen's Park 3 Renton 0
A crowd of 7,000 were at Hampden (1) to see The Spiders assert their position as the dominant force in Scottish football.

1876- Queen's Park 2 3rd Lanarkshire Rifle Volunteers 1
The competition was growing in popularity, with 49 teams now entering and a crowd of 10.000 watching the final at Hamilton Crescent.
The cup was decided in a replay, the first match being drawn 1-1. The second match was played at Hampden (1) in front of 6,000 spectators. 

1877- Vale of Leven 3 Glasgow Rangers  2
The sensation of this season's cup was the defeat of Queen's Park by Vale of Leven. This was the first time that Queen's Park had been beaten by Scottish opposition and the first time they had lost in Scotland. 
300 minutes were needed to settle the final- 2 1-1 draws (including Scotland's first ever period of extra time) preceding the deciding match. Attendances were steadily growing as well. 

1878- Vale of Leven 1 3rd Lanarkshire Rifle Volunteers 0
128 teams entered. Queen's Park suffered a 3rd round defeat to 3rd Lanarkshire Rifle Volunteers
The attendance at the final at Hampden (1) was down to 5.000.

1879- Vale of Leven walkover victory over Glasgow Rangers.
 After the final ended 1-1 Rangers refused to replay in protest at having had a goal disallowed in the original match. The incedent and the aftermath were remarkable.  There were no goal nets in those days, and it appears that a shot from a Rangers player went through the goal, hit a spectator and flew back into play. Neither the referee or the umpires were in a position to award the goal. Rangers produced a witness- the man who the ball had hit, He was a knight and a professor of surgery at the Glasgow University. The SFA Committee dismissed their appeal and ordered a replay for the following Saturday, but Rangers showed their disdain by not turning up. 

1880- Queen's Park 3 Thornliebank 0

After 3 years absent from the final Queen's Park were back to claim their 4th victory.  Thornliebank is a village about 10km south of Glasgow. 

1881- Queen's Park 3 Dumbarton 1

Replayed after Dumbarton had protested against the 2-1 result of the first game. The protests were at the behaviour of the crowd at Glasgow Rangers' Kinning Park. The replay was held at the same ground. Dr John Smith scored a hattrick in the second match.  James McAulay  appeared for Dumbarton as a forward.

1882- Queen's Park  4 Dumbarton 1

Another replayed final, this time following a 2-2 draw in the first match.

1883- Dumbarton 2  Vale of Leven  1
Yet another replay following a 2-2 draw. Having appeared in the finals of the previous 2 years as a forward, James McAulay was now between the sticks for Dumbarton in the first match and at centre forward in the replay!

1884- Queen's Park walkover victory over Vale of Leven, who were unable to field an XI for the final tie. Vale appealed to have the final postponed as they had so many players ill or injured. The SFA would not entertain their appeal. So only Queen's Park turned up for the final. They kicked off unopposed and scored. The season also saw Queen's Park reach the final of the FA Cup.

1885 -Renton 3 Vale of Leven 1
A replay following a 0-0 draw. Both matches were played at Hampden (2) in poor weather before small crowds (2,000 and 3,500)

1886- Queen's Park 3 Renton  1

1887- Hibernian 2 Dumbarton 1

The first Edinburgh winners

1888- Renton 6 Cambuslang 1
Renton went on to become 'World Champions'.

1889- 3rd Lanarkshire Rifle Volunteers 2  Celtic 1

This was a replay. Third won the first match 3-0 but the teams had signed an agreement before kick off that the game should be considered a friendly due to poor conditions.

1890- Queen's Park 2 Vale of Leven 1
Replay following a 1-1 draw

1891- Heart of Midlothian 1 Dumbarton 0

1892- Celtic 5 Queen's Park 1

A replay- Celtic won the first match 1-0 in front of a 40,000 crowd at Ibrox, but the match was declared a 'friendly' due to the pitch being covered in snow. The tide in Scottish football was turning. Rememeber that at this point the game was still, from the official point of view, amateur. 

1893- Queen's Park 2 Celtic 1

deja vu- a replay- Celtic won the first match 1-0. A huge crowd, almost 50,000, unaware that before the game the match had been agreed as a friendly due to frost. 

1894- Glasgow Rangers 3 Celtic 1

The first Old Firm final, played at Hampden (2) in front of 17,000. 0-0 at half time, then Rangers took a 3-0 lead.

1895- St Bernard's 2 Renton 1
Edinburgh football was enjoying something of a purple patch. St Bernards won the cup in front of a crowd of 13,500 at Ibrox. 9 of Renton's players were teenagers!

1896- Heart of Midlothian 3 Hibernian 1

The first all Edinburgh final and the first (and only) final to be played away from Glasgow, at St Bernard's Logie Green ground watched by a crowd of 16,000. An insight into the spirit in which the game was played in Scotland at the time - the teams agreed before the match not to dispute the outcome! James Catton referred to an earlier period of football in England as the 'win draw or protest ' era.

1897- Glasgow Rangers 5 Dumbarton 1

Dumbarton were no longer the great force they had been in the amateur era, and were now a second tier side. Rangers overwhelmed them in the second half of the final, which was watched by 14.000 at Hampden (2).

1898- Glasgow Rangers 2 Kilmarnock 0

Kilmarnock were a second tier side 

1899- Celtic 2 Glasgow Rangers 0

25.000 at Hampden (2) saw a Celtic team featuring 9 Scottish internationals defeat an all international Rangers XI.

1900- Celtic 4  Queen's Park 3
This match at Ibrox represents something of a turning point in Scottish football, with Queen's Park making their last cup final appearance (to date) having featured so prominently in the game during its first three decades.  They eschewed league football and had remained staunchly amateur.