The Scottish FA Cup is known colloquially as the Scottish Cup and formally called the Scottish Football Association Challenge Cup. It is a football tournament run in the same familiar way as the FA Cup in England.
The Scottish Cup has been held since 1873 making it the second oldest competition anywhere in world football, behind only its English counterpart. An annual knock-out tournament runs every season in Scotland.
The actual Scottish Cup trophy, however, is the oldest national trophy in world football. It was first won by amateur outfit Queen's Park in 1874. The cup is still revered to this day despite dwindling attendances and more focus being put on Scotland’s top league tier, the Premiership.
How the Scottish FA Cup Works
Entry into the Scottish Cup is available to all 98 clubs holding full membership within the SFA, the Scottish Football Association. As well as up to eight other clubs with associate membership.
The lower-level teams in Scotland begin their cup journey as early as August, right at the beginning of the season, Games are drawn at random in what is always a straight one-leg, knockout tournament. The winner of each tie going through to the next round and the loser is knocked out.
After the first and second preliminary rounds are done and dusted, 34 teams contest the first round proper in September. Replays and extra-time is allowed if required, something that carries on to the quarter-final stage.
With the teams whittled down further in rounds 2 and 3, the Premiership sides enter in round 4 to create a last-32. The competition continues in this way until the semi-finals which are played as one-off matches on neutral ground. The semi-finals and the final are usually Hampden Park.
The winners of the Scottish Cup qualify for the following season’s Europa League. However, given the relative weakness of this competition, if the winner has already qualified for the Champions League or Europa League via the Premiership, which is often the case, then the position will go to the highest placed team in the league not currently qualifying for Europe.
The Cup’s Most Notable Teams
Glasgow-based Queens Park were the first-ever winners of this trophy. But heir city neighbours Rangers and Celtic are by far the most successful teams in competition history.
Celtic have won the cup 39 times and been to 57 finals, helped largely by Rangers’ demotion in 2012 meaning very little competition was offered up to them in recent years.
Rangers themselves have taken the Scottish Cup on 33 occasions, reaching 51 finals, and rank as the world’s most successful team in terms of total trophies won domestically.
The last of Queens Park’s ten wins was way back in 1893, meaning in the modern game the most successful teams other than the Glasgow behemoths are Hearts and Aberdeen with eight and 7 wins respectively. No other team has won more than three Scottish Cup titles in the history of the game.
Best Betting Markets to Play in the Scottish FA Cup
Given all the unknowns regarding smaller players and teams, betting on the early rounds is not recommended. When the Premiership teams enter in round 4, however, we see that the goals tend to flow.
Even when taking Rangers and Celtic’s games out of the equation, typically in rounds 4-6 we see:
- Around 60% of matches going the way of the home side.
- An excellent 3.3 goals per game being scored.
Stats we love to see from a betting point of view! Consider concentrating on these markets:
- Match Betting – 1X2 or home/draw/away. Home teams have such a great record. That means that, even when taking out the bad value on offer for the Old Firm teams and removing some games you feel may well go to the away side, you’re left with plenty of fair betting options on reliable home teams to put into an accumulator.
- Total Goals – betting ‘over 2.5’ or even ‘over 3.5’ on matches in rounds 4-6, and perhaps the semi-finals too can prove fruitful in this entertaining competition.
Betting on the Cup
Sometimes all we want as football fans is to see goals and entertainment and in the Scottish Cup. Luckily, that is pretty much guaranteed. Betting on the total goals market or the handicaps can be done in this competition. Be sure to choose one of our recommended online bookmakers.