Ayrshire Cup 1877-1998




The first proposers of the Ayrshire Cup were two medical students, a John Smith of Mauchline and a Mr Wilson of Ayr. After failing to persuade Ayr Thistle to take up the task, John Wallace of Kilmarnock took up the baton. Voluntary contributions, almost exclusively in Kilmarnock, helped finance the competition and was instrumental in the town having an almost exclusive hold on the choice of final venues. Indeed it wasni’t until 1897 when the final tie was played outside the town with Ayr being the choice.

The following  notes regarding the competition in the 20th Century have been supplied thanks to David Ross.

There were a couple of occasions when the winners didn't actually 'win' the Final. In 1921 Ayr United refused to replay at Rugby Park on the date set by the Ayrshire FA so Kilmarnock were awarded the trophy. In 1959 the scores were level after two legs so in the days before penalty shoot-outs or away goals counting double the rule was that in the event of a tie the holders kept the trophy so it stayed in Ayr.

Penalty shoot-outs were introduced in 1970-71.

Between 1946-1978 Kilmarnock and Ayr United were the only entrants. Prior to WW2 the number of entrants fluctuated - from a peak of over forty to just four in the 1930s (Kilmarnock, Ayr United, Beith and Galston). In 1978-79 Girvan joined the competition. 

The last winners outside the 'big two' were Beith in 1926-27.

Although the competition was suspended during WW2 the second leg of the 1938-39 final was played on September 30th 1939, after the outbreak of war but eight days after the SFA lifted their ban on competitive football.

The latest date for a final is for the 1932-33 competition which was actually played in February 1934. However the 1934-35 competition took longer to conclude. The final was held at Rugby Park in October 1935 but was drawn 3-3. The replay at Somerset wasn't played until 22 April 22 1936 when Kilmarnock won 8-0 (a record score for a Kilmarnock-Ayr United game) with six different players scoring. 

Most successive wins is seven - Kilmarnock from 1950-51 to 1956-57 inclusive. Kilmarnock have also won five times in a row 1980-81 to 1984-85 inclusive. They were the first club to win three in succession (1884, 1885, 1886), a feat they achieved on several more occasions.

Ayr United's best run was four in a row from 1974-75 - 77-78. They also won three in succession - 1968-69, 1969-70, 1970-71. No other club has won more than twice in succession though Stevenston United - winners in 1914-15 and again in 1919-20 held the trophy for six seasons as it wasn't contested between those dates.

Some snippets on managers. Most successful was Kilmarnock's Malky MacDonald with eight victories. Best for Ayr was Ally McLeod with seven, the same tally as Kilmarnock's Hugh Spence.

MacDonald & McLeod were also both in charge of Scotland of course. The only ACF in which they were opposite each other was 1966. Other Scotland managers to have won the Ayrshire Cup are Tommy Burns and George Burley. They faced each other in the ACF in 1992 & 1993.

Ayr manager Gerry Mays (1962) was a former Kilmarnock player. And Alex Gibson who managed Ayr in the 1932-33 competition (completed in 1934) was a former Kilmarnock Chairman! James MacDonald, Ayr secretary/manager in the early 1920s held the same position at Rugby Park before WWI and Ayr boss from 1979-1983, Willie McLean, was the brother of Kilmarnock players Tommy & Jim.


1878 Mauchline

1879 Kilmarnock Athletic

1880 Beith

1881 Lugar Boswell

1882 Kilmarnock Portland

1883 Kilmarnock Athletic

1884 Kilmarnock

1885 Kilmarnock

1886 Kilmarnock

1887 Hurlford

1888 Kilbirnie

1889 Hurlford

1890 Annbank

1891 Kilmarnock

1892 Annbank

1893 Annbank

1894 Hurlford

1895 Annbank

1896 Kilmarnock

1897 Kilmarnock Athletic

1898 Kilmarnock

1899 Kilmarnock

1900 Kilmarnock

1901 Ayr

1902 Ayr Parkhouse

1903 Galston

1904 Galston

1905 Ayr

1906 Ayr

1907 Hurlford

1908 Galston

1909 Hurlford

1910 Ayr

1911 Hurlford

1912 Ayr United

1913 Galston

1914 Galston

1915 Stevenston United

1916-1919 no competition

1920 Stevenston United

1921 Kilmarnock

1922 Kilmarnock

1923 Kilmarnock

1924 Beith

1925 Galston

1926 Ayr United

1927 Beith

1928 Kilmarnock

1929 Ayr United

1930 Kilmarnock

1931 Kilmarnock

1932   not competed for

1933 Ayr United

1934   not competed for


1935 Kilmarnock

1936 Ayr United

1937   no competition

1938 Ayr United

1939 Ayr United

1940-1946   no competition

1947 Kilmarnock

1948   no competition

1949   no competition

1950 Ayr United

1951 Kilmarnock

1952 Kilmarnock

1953 Kilmarnock

1954 Kilmarnock

1955 Kilmarnock

1956 Kilmarnock

1957 Kilmarnock

1958 Ayr United

1959 Ayr United / Kilmarnock (shared)

1960 Kilmarnock

1961 Ayr United

1962 Kilmarnock

1963  incomplete

1964  incomplete

1965 Ayr United

1966 Kilmarnock

1967  incomplete

1968  incomplete

1969 Ayr United

1970 Ayr United

1971 Ayr United

1972 Kilmarnock

1973 Kilmarnock

1974 Kilmarnock

1975 Ayr United

1976 Ayr United

1977 Ayr United

1978 Ayr United

1979 Kilmarnock

1980 Ayr United

1981 Kilmarnock

1982 Kilmarnock

1983 Kilmarnock

1984 Kilmarnock

1985 Kilmarnock

1986 Ayr United

1987 Kilmarnock

1988 Ayr United

1989 Ayr United

1990 Kilmarnock

1991 Ayr United

1992 Kilmarnock

1993 Kilmarnock

1994 Kilmarnock

1995 Ayr United

1996 Kilmarnock

1997 Ayr United

1998 Kilmarnock

The results of  the competition from 1877-78 to 1914-15 were researched and compiled by Stuart Robertson



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