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Scottish Football League Third Division
Countries  Scotland
Founded 1923
Number of teams 10
Promotion to Scottish Second Division
Domestic cup(s) Scottish Cup
League Cup
Challenge Cup
Current champions Dumbarton (2008–09)
Soccerball current event.svg Scottish Third Division 2009–10

The Scottish Football League Third Division is the lowest division of the Scottish Football League and the fourth overall in the Scottish football league system.

The division contains ten teams and each year the top team is promoted to the Second Division, The clubs in 2nd,3rd and 4th places enter an end of season play-off with the 9th placed side in the Second Division. There is no relegation from the Third Division

The teams play each other four times with three points for a victory and one point each for a drawn game.



The Scottish Football League has introduced a third division on three occasions.


Original Third Division

An original Third Division was inaugurated in time for the 1923–24 season. The Division was an actual third tier of the Scottish League, made up largely of provincial sides. The initial championship was won by Arthurlie, who were promoted along with East Stirlingshire. Although Leith Athletic were admitted the following season many clubs in the division struggled financially with Dumbarton Harp resigning during 1924–25. The following season was to be the last for this incarnation, with the competition left uncompleted as struggling teams failed to fulfil their fixtures. Of the members all but Forfar Athletic, who were co-opted into the higher division, were reassigned to non-league football.[1]

'C' Division

The notion of a third tier in the Scottish Football League returned for the 1946–47 season when the 'C' Division was founded. In contrast to he earlier version the 'C' Division was a curious amalgamation of minor clubs and reserve teams, with the first season made up off the first teams of Stirling Albion (promoted as champions), Leith Athletic (also promoted), East Stirlingshire, Forfar Athletic, Montrose, Brechin City and Edinburgh City. The Division continued in this form for three seasons with a fairly fluid membership, although at the end of each season a non-reserve team was crowned champions and duly promoted.

The competition was restructured for the 1949–50 season season when the number of reserve sides was significantly expanded and the Division divided into two sections, the South-East (soon renamed the North-East) and South-West. Promotion became rarer as the reserve sides of the bigger clubs such as Rangers and Aberdeen came to dominate, Brechin City's victory in the North-East section in the 1953–54 season was the sole promotion managed in the new format before its final season. The competition completed its final season in 1954–55 when Aberdeen II won the North-East section and Partick Thistle II the South-West. Three non-reserve sides, Montrose, East Stirlingshire and Berwick Rangers remained in the North-East section with two, Dumbarton and Stranraer in the South-West. All five were admitted to full membership of the Scottish Football League.[2]

Current incarnation

From 1994 to 1998 the new Third Division was in fact the fourth level in the Scottish Football League but became the third when the member teams of the Scottish Premier Division broke off to form the Scottish Premier League.

Introduction of Play-Offs and Relegation

The division contains ten teams and, until recently, each season the top two teams were promoted to the Second Division. As of the 2005–06 season, the 2nd, 3rd and 4th placed teams go into a play off with the 9th place team from the Second Division. There is no direct relegation from the Scottish Third Division but since the 2005–06 season if a club finishes bottom for three successive seasons then they will have their full membership of the SFL suspended. The club will then play the next two seasons as a non-voting associate member after which the full members shall vote on the fate of the suspended club.


On 20 July 2007, it was announced that the Scottish Football League would be sponsored by Scottish soft drink Irn-Bru for the next three seasons.[3]

Teams for 2009–10 season

Listed below are the teams competing in the season 2009–10 Third Division.

Livingston F.C. were demoted from the First Division to the Third Division in response to the club's insolvency. As a result, Cowdenbeath - beaten play-off finalists from 2008-09 - were promoted .[4]


Team Stadium Capacity
Queens Park Hampden Park 52,500
Livingston Almondvale Stadium 10,016
Stranraer Stair Park 5,600
East Stirlingshire Ochilview Park 5,267
Forfar Athletic Station Park 5,177
Berwick Rangers Shielfield Park 4,131
Elgin City Borough Briggs 3,927
Annan Athletic Galabank 3,500
Montrose Links Park 3,292
Albion Rovers Cliftonhill 2,496

* East Stirlingshire are currently ground sharing at Stenhousemuir's Ochilview Park.

Winners of the Third Division

Season Winner Runner-up
1994–95 Forfar Athletic Montrose
1995–96 Livingston Brechin City
1996–97 Inverness Caledonian Thistle Forfar Athletic
1997–98 Alloa Athletic Arbroath
1998–99 Ross County Stenhousemuir
1999–00 Queen's Park Berwick Rangers
2000–01 Hamilton Academical Cowdenbeath
2001–02 Brechin City Dumbarton
2002–03 Greenock Morton East Fife
2003–04 Stranraer Stirling Albion
2004–05 Gretna Peterhead
2005–06 Cowdenbeath Berwick Rangers
2006–07 Berwick Rangers Arbroath
2007–08 East Fife Stranraer
2008–09 Dumbarton Stenhousemuir


External links


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