Sport in Scotland

Scottish sport

Scotland’s sporting traditions are legendary worldwide. Our country can lay claim to the invention of a number of popular international sports, including golf, rugby and tennis. Other sports are also rooted in Scotland’s history books, such as hockey (which originates from shinty), curling, and of course, the Scottish Highland Games.

Football is one of the nation’s most popular spectator sports. It was a Scotsman, William McGregor, who set up the first English football league and it was in Scotland in 1872 that the first international match was played in Partick, Glasgow, where England and Scotland drew 0-0.

Today, a passion for football is played out in villages, towns and cities across Scotland, where you’ll discover amateur through to world-beating professional matches, leagues, cups and championships.

Olympic Games success

Scottish sport is a hotbed of talent. Scotland has never been more proud of its sporting heroes when 55 Scottish Olympians and 27 Scottish Paralympians were selected for the 2012 London Olympic Games. Scotland won 24 medals in athletics, cycling, hockey, judo, rowing, sailing, slalom canoeing, swimming and tennis.

In 2014, Glasgow hosted the XX Commonwealth Games. It was a Games which saw more than 140 Commonwealth records broken, and where Team Scotland saw their most successful Games yet - 53 medals; 19 Gold, 15 Silver and 19 Bronze.

There is also a wealth of opportunities for Scotland’s people to become involved in sports. State-of-the-art facilities, such as at the Edinburgh International Climbing Arena at Ratho; a wide variety of dry slope and real snow ski centres, world-acclaimed mountain biking trails, excellent athletics complexes and Sport Scotland’s National Sailing Centre on the Isle of Cumbrae all combine to provide a sporting environment to rival many countries worldwide.

Scottish Highland Games

More traditional Scottish sports, such as tossing the caber, hammer throwing, tug o’ war and cross-country running, are celebrated at more than 60 Scottish Highland Games events across the country every year. Bringing a host of fun for spectators and participants alike, the Highland Games are a major part of Scotland’s summer sporting agenda.

Sport For All

The Scottish Government is committed to removing all barriers and encouraging people to take part in sporting activities at all levels. Find out more.

View our Scottish Sportspeople gallery