Tartan In Sports – Football Kits

With the 2014 FIFA World Cup currently being held in Brazil now seems like the ideal time to look back over the years at some examples of Football Kits here in Scotland that have taken inspiration from the iconic Scottish design, Tartan.  The links between Tartan and Scotland’s favorite pastime over the years have been infrequent but leave a lasting impression when they have collaborated on a Kit design.

One of the first time that Tartan has been used in a Football Kit was back in 1953 where Dundee FC wore this design for their Kit on a tour of South Africa for their 60th anniversary:


Tartan Kit Worn By Dundee FC on Their 1953 Tour of South Africa

While many teams at this time had Kits with two different coloured strips or hoops, Dundee pushed the boundary with a full tartan kit. I imagine this design was chosen for their visit to South Africa to show off our traditional national attire overseas.

It took the Footballing world till the early 1990’s to recover from Dundee FC’s tartan getup before Greenock Morton released two Tartan Kits, a Home and Away Kit. The blue home Kit tartan is quite similar to the later registered Greenock Tartan. The away kit has the blue and red’s inverted.

Greenock Morton's Tartan Kits from 1993-1996

Greenock Morton returned to a similar blue Tartan Kit between 2005-2007 too.

It wasn’t only domestic club sides that were getting in on the trend of Tartan Kits. The Scotland National Team’s supporters, known as the ‘Tartan Army‘ were joined by the players on the pitch in dressing in Tartan at the 1996 European Championship in England.

Scotland's Euro 96 Tartan Kit

The kit appeared the normal dark blue from afar, but the intricate Tartan design was more apparent on closer viewing.

After several years without tartan, the 2014 Scotland Kit contains a dash of Tartan spirit. Tartan trim around the edges give a flash of Scottish heritage. There is a tip of the hat to Robert the Bruce also hidden on the top in the form of a Spider. His phrase…

If at first you don’t succeed – try, try again.

…fits well with the ethos of the Scottish National Team!

For the 2014/15 one of the ‘Old Firm‘ has chosen to have a tartan design on their Kit. Celtic’s Away Kit carries a tartan design, showing that the influence of Tartan stretches to the biggest teams in Scotland too. Here is their design:

Celtic Tartan Away Kit for 2014/15

It seems fitting that Tartan and Football go hand in hand, such strong Iconic Scottish symbols. Hopefully in the years to come we shall see more Tartan designs for kits, perhaps even Kilts replacing shorts!

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  1. April 29, 2019

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