Celtics vs Rangers – How Classics Are Born

The Scottish Premiership might not have the glamour and tons of money as the EPL. It doesn’t mean that the Scottish football league system isn’t thrilling. 

Photo by Amadej Tauses on Unsplash

The matches between Celtics and Rangers, two of the biggest teams in Scotland, are always full of adrenaline and sparks. 


Known as the “Old Firm Derby”, the classic is fuelled by a rivalry that goes way beyond the football field. Learn more about it below. 

A Complex History

Both teams are Glasgow-based, but their fans couldn’t be more different from one another. It’s because this rivalry isn’t only about football; it includes religion, politics and sectarianism. 


While the Rangers align with a more pro-British view and are loyal to the British Crown, Celtics’ fans typically align with Irish Scots. 


Additionally, while fans of the first are predominantly Protestant, the latter aligns with the Catholic church. Is it volatile enough yet?

The Origins of the “Old Firm Derby”

The rivalry between both teams has been going on for over a century. The nickname derives from a cartoon published in a satirical newspaper in 1904. 


The cartoon depicted an old man selling sandwiches, with a banner that reads “Patronise the Old Firm, Ranger, Celtics Ltd.”

Fighting for Titles

Celtics and Rangers are the most accomplished teams in Scotland, having more winnings than any other club. The competition for titles is very tight, with one or another coming slightly on top. 


While the Teddy Bears have more Scottish League wins (126 against 113), the Hoops have more Scottish Cup and League Cup titles. 


None of them perform so well in European competitions, though. They typically leave the UEFA Champions League during the group stage and rarely survive the competition past Christmas. The last time the clubs have been in the group stage dates back to the 2007/8 season.


On the occasion, the Hoops managed to survive a pretty tough group composed of Shakhtar Donetsk, Benfica and AC Milan. The Teddy Bears finished the group stage in the third position, which was enough to get into the knockout stage. 


What seems like a timid campaign was the height of the success for Scottish supporters. Nowadays, national clubs don’t even get close to European clubs.


The Scottish sides also struggle when playing against teams south of their border. Hoops fans have yet to forget a humiliating 9-0 defeat against Liverpool in 2022. The Reds didn’t spare the Rangers either, imposing a painful 7-1 in the same year.

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