Scotland have not always played in the distinctive dark blue shirts we associate with the team. On at least nine occasions between 1881 and 1951 they played in the primrose and pink racing colours of racehorse owner Archibald Philip Primrose, Lord Rosebery.
Rosebery developed a keen in interest in association football and was an early patron of the sport in Scotland. In 1882 he donated a trophy, the Rosebery Charity Cup, to be competed for by clubs under the jurisdiction of the East of Scotland FA. The competition lasted over 60 years and raised thousands of pounds for charities in the Edinburgh area.
The 5th Earl Rosebery was a patron of the game and Hon. President of the SFA and of Hearts F.C. His colours were first worn in 1881, and then in 1900, 1901, 1905, 1906, 1907, 1908 and 1909. They were revived in 1949, and last used in 1951 against France.
Perhaps the most noteable occasion the Rosebery colours were worn was in 1900. Scotland defeated England 4-1. Lord Rosebery told the Scotland captain Jacky Robertson, "I have never seen my colours so well sported since Ladas won the Derby." Queen’s Park’s Robert S. McColl (who went on to set up a chain of sweet shops, earning the nickname ’Toffee Bob’) scored a hat-trick.