This term appears twice in Dictionaries of the Scots Language. In the entry for struggle it is defined as “Jocular usage: a supper of fish and chips, as provided in a restaurant. Hence a struggle-shop, a fish-and-chip shop”. And we find this citation from Victor J de Spiganovicz’s Homeless Nightlife in Edinburgh (1906): “Entering one of those ‘tuppenny struggle-shops’ which the self-respecting man seldom patronises, Nelson ordered ‘Supper for one’ … Ye ken ah’m wantin’ a tuppenny struggle, an’ ye’r the man tae gie the price o’t”.

However, under tippeny, it is defined as a mutton pie. In Scotland’s Inner Man (1935), Victor McClure described them: “Mutton Pies. Vulgarly known in Glasgow as ‘Tuppeny Struggles’. They are small pies made with hot-water paste, filled with minced mutton, and served hot with gravy, which is poured into them at the last moment through holes left in the paste lids”. In the 1990s, a Tuppeny Struggle was still a common Glasgow name for a Scotch pie. However, the mutton filling fell out of favour during the 1950s-60s, to be replaced by beef.

The name is not lost though. A 2006 article in the Glasgow Times stated: “We’ve come a long way from the ‘tupenny struggle’, a Glasgow expression for a poor pie because it was such a struggle to eat the thing”. And indeed, Clarissa Dixon Wright made them sound positively delicious with her recipe for the original mutton pie in Clarissa’s Comfort Food (2012): “These little pies, known in Scotland as ‘tuppenny struggles’, are excellent travelling fare…”

Scots Word of the Week comes from Dictionaries of the Scots Language. Visit DSL Online at