An integral part of Scottish culture is sport. One of the main factors that led to the development of all-weather sports like football, rugby union and golf is the temperate, oceanic climate predominant in Scotland. Many other sports are also enjoyed in Scotland with different degrees of popularity.
Scottish people and emigrants have played a very important role in the history of sports in general. Innovations in the field of sports include important developments in golf, rugby union, curling, and cycling, as well as introducing the Highland games and shinty. Highland games were a major inspiration for Baron Coubertin to re-introduce the concept of the Olympic games and shinty is a predecessor of modern ice hockey and bandy.
People in Scotland enjoy many sports, both professionally and recreationally. Some of these are Scottish in origin while others were imported over time. For example, a true Scottish sporting event is the Highland games, boasting events in which competitors rely on strength and skill in several disciplines like tossing the caber or stone throwing. Also, the game of shinty is a Scottish invention, widely played across the country. However, football remains the most popular sport in Scotland, followed by the greatest number of fans.
The story goes that the first recorded international football match took place in 1872 in Partick, Glasgow. The teams of Scotland and England met, and the match ended in a 0-0 draw. Soon afterward, the sport of football became the most popular sport in Scotland. Today, the Scottish national team ranks as 30th best national team, according to FIFA standings. There are two main football leagues in Scotland: the Scottish Premier League and the Scottish Football League. The most successful clubs in Scotland are Rangers, Celtic, and Aberdeen. Celtic was the first British club to win the top European competition in 1967.
Scotland is a member of the International Rugby Board since 1886 and the Scottish Football Union (later Scottish Rugby Union) exist since 1873. Rugby union is a traditional sport in Scotland, and the National team is ranked as 9th in the world. The national team takes part in the Six Nations Cup annually and the Rugby World Cup, every four years. The oldest still ongoing rugby fixture takes place each year between the students of The Edinburgh Academy and the Merchiston Castle school. The first match took place in 1858.
Scotland is often named „the home of golf“. It is the country with many links courses, and the first records of golf games in Scotland tell us that the first game was played at Leith Links in 1457. Today, some of the most famous golf courses are located in Scotland. The term „links“ came from the Scottish h name for a golf course. The major courses in Scotland are the Old Course a tSt. Andrews, Muirfield, Gleneagles, East Lothian and so on. The R&A (The Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St. Andrews) is the governing body of golf, excluding the U.S. and Mexico.