There are football rivalries around the world which are influenced by many factors from race to politics and religion. When it comes to football in Glasgow, Scotland’s largest city, it’s a tale of two football teams divided. When these two meet, the game of football has an extra edge, spice and rivalry like no other. The sense of pride, emotion and sheer ferocity is what drives the players as well as the fans into a frenzy. For those not familiar with Scotland’s top two teams, Celtic and Rangers, the historical football hatred has continued for almost 125 years. The Old Firm Derby as it is known is due to the Catholic/Protestant religious tensions which can be found across Glasgow. It’s what shaped the city’s life and character which affects the behaviour of fans to the present day. If you are indeed a fan but live in Australia, here is a Bet365 bonus code for you!
Real football tribalism is at its peak when Celtic and Rangers play each other. The old firm is definitely no ordinary football match. It’s seen by many as a Scottish institution of how football, politics and social identities conflict with one another. Rangers was founded in 1872 and quickly became a symbol of the Protestant community because of the club’s size and location in the southern part of the city. Celtic Football Club, founded in 1888, had religious affiliations with the Catholic Irish community, a minority in the city at that time. The majority of people living in Glasgow at the time were actually Protestant. Both clubs represented their religious identities like no other. The Celtic fans have an affinity for the Catholic religion and the former political struggles of the IRA (Irish Republican Army) while the Rangers fans are loyal to the British Crown. The passing of time has reduced historical religious fanaticism somewhat, however on the build up to the match and during the game itself, you can still see flags and banners depicting loyalty to cultural opposition.
Both Celtic and Rangers fans travel to matches by specific routes to avoid each other before the game begins. This tends to only build up their rage against one another inside the ground, before, during and after the game. Home matches for Celtic take place at Celtic Park and Ibrox Park for Rangers, so there are two Glasgow home derbies. One of the worst incidents between the two sets of supporters actually occurred at Hampden Park, the National Stadium of Football in Glasgow. It was the Scottish FA Cup Final, a feisty match where Celtic claimed a late victory thanks to an extra time winner from the in-form striker George McCluskey. After the final whistle went, thousands of Rangers fans stayed in Hampden Park to hurl abuse at Celtic supporters and the Celtic players who were celebrating the victory. As the FA Cup trophy was being lifted, Rangers fans invaded the pitch and a riot followed between two sets of supporters that was to shame Scottish football around the world.
The 1980 Hampden Park incident is regarded as one of the most violent football fan rivalry clashes in the history of the game. One football commentator said “it was like a scene out of Apocalypse Now, it doesn’t say much for the state of Scottish football. Let’s be honest and not kid ourselves, these two sets of supporters hate each other”. A Scottish and FIFA investigation was carried out to find out the cause of the riot which was put down to excessive drinking of alcohol and religious tensions. Things have changed for the better. With modern security, tighter controls on alcohol and the passing of time. The two sets of fans are still very passionate about their teams but thankfully the football hooliganism events like the 1980 Hampden Park football riot are diminishing. Like all football derbies from Real Madrid v Athletico Madrid in La Liga, Lazio v Roma in Serie A, Everton v Liverpool in the English Premier League, it’s all down to bragging rights. Rangers have the claim to bragging rights for league titles with 54 to Celtic’s 45. They also have a better record than the old firm derbies leading Celtic 159 to 144 and so it goes on.