|Number of teams||42|
|Current champions||St. Mirren|
|Most successful club(s)||Rangers
The Scottish League Cup is a football competition open to all Scottish Football League and Scottish Premier League clubs. At present it is also known as the Scottish Communities League Cup owing to the sponsorship deal in place with the Scottish Government. In the past it has been sponsored by Coca-Cola, Skol Lager, Bell's whisky and Co-operative Insurance. The competition, like the Scottish Cup, is currently a straight knockout format.
Currently, the domestic television and radio rights are held by BBC Scotland.
Current format 
The competition is open only to the 42 senior clubs who compete in the Scottish Premier League (SPL) or Scottish Football League. There are no replays, so all matches ending in a draw after 90 minutes are decided by extra time and, if necessary, penalty kicks.
The four teams who, based on results of the previous season, have qualified for UEFA competitions are given a bye until the 3rd round of competition, together with the highest placed SPL finisher not in UEFA competitions. The seven teams who finished highest in the SPL/SFL without qualifying for Europe receive a bye into the 2nd round.
The remaining 30 teams begin play from the 1st round. They are drawn into random pairings with the games played at the stadium of the first team drawn. The 15 teams advancing from the first round are drawn together. The teams who advance from the 2nd round are joined by the final five teams in the 3rd round, with seeding in place. The remaining rounds of competition are unseeded.
The semi-final matches are played on a neutral ground, traditionally Hampden Park, but the home ground of a third club located close to the two competing clubs is sometimes used.
|This section does not cite any references or sources. (January 2013)|
The cup has its origins in a regional cup competition called the Southern League Cup which was introduced in 1940 when wartime restrictions led to a suspension of the Scottish Cup. This tournament was largely regional and did not involve all of the teams who comprised the Scottish Football League prior to the outbreak of war.
The first official Scottish Football League Cup was contested during the 1946–47 season when Rangers defeated Aberdeen in the final. However, Aberdeen still includes their victory in the 1945–46 Southern League Cup tournament among their honours.[inconsistent]
The competition was very popular with supporters during the first few decades of its existence. The tournament consisted of 8 or 9 groups consisting of 4 or 5 teams. The groups were seeded into 2 sets with the top 16 teams in Division 1 making up the first four Groups. This guaranteed that 4 'top' teams would play 4 'lesser' teams in the quarter-finals.
Extra games when the Premier League was formed and expanded European competitions meant that by the early 1980s, its long-winded format, which involved group rounds played early on in the season leading to two-legged knock-out rounds similar to the modern UEFA Champions League, attracted much criticism.
In the mid-1980s the tournament was revamped to a shorter, single elimination knock-out style with a final played prior to Christmas, which provided the excitement of a cup final early in the season.
During the 1999–00 competition, the semi-finals and final were moved to the springtime in order to avoid the congestion of fixtures caused by the early rounds of the UEFA club competitions and Scotland’s representatives in Europe were given automatic byes until the third round of competition.
Previous finals 
The League Cup has been known by different names due to sponsorship:
- Bell's League Cup (1979–81), sponsored by Bell's whisky
- Skol Cup (1984–92), sponsored by Skol Lager
- Coca-Cola Cup (1994–97), sponsored by Coca-Cola
- CIS Insurance Cup (1999–08), sponsored by The CIS Insurance
- Co-operative Insurance Cup (2008–2011), sponsored by The Co-operative Insurance
- Scottish Communities League Cup (2011–), sponsored by the Scottish Government
Since the competition's inception, the winning team has always been awarded the famous three-handled trophy known simply as the Scottish Football League Cup. However, during the 1980s when Skol lager sponsored the competition, a second trophy known simply as the "Skol Cup" was awarded concurrent to the first trophy. During the 1987–88 competition when Rangers won their third Skol Cup, they were given permanent possession of this trophy and a new "Skol Cup" with a slightly different design was introduced the following season.
European qualification 
Until 1995, the winners of the Scottish League Cup were granted a place in the UEFA Cup although this privilege was rarely invoked as the winning teams usually qualified for Europe by some other means such as winning the League Championship or Scottish Cup. The most recent example was Raith Rovers who represented Scotland in the 1995–96 UEFA Cup after winning the League Cup the previous season as a First Division club. This privilege has since been discontinued due to the reduction in the number of European places granted to Scottish clubs.
Media coverage 
Scottish League Cup matches are currently shown live by BBC Scotland on their Sportscene strand and also UK-wide on the BBC Red Button, though the final is not available via the red button. They are also shown live in Ireland by Setanta Ireland or Setanta Sports 1. Both Setanta Ireland and BBC Scotland show the final live. In Australia the Scottish League Cup is broadcast by Setanta Sports Australia. The 2009 Scottish League Cup Final was shown live on SBS due to a fixture clash on Setanta.
- "SFL League Cup Final Results 1946/47 – 2006–07". Retrieved 4 February 2009.[dead link]
- "Scottish League Cup sponsor boost". BBC Sport. 7 January 2009. Retrieved 4 February 2009.
- "Co-operative Insurance end Scottish League Cup deal". BBC Sport. 28 September 2010. Retrieved 28 September 2010.
- "Scottish Government crime seizures to fund League Cup". BBC Sport. 21 March 2011. Retrieved 21 March 2011.