A brief history of the Old Firm Derby

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    Nov 28, 2017
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    A brief history of the Old Firm Derby

    When Celtic faces Rangers at Ibrox on May 12th, it might not be relevant to this year’s trophy anymore. But even if the Hoops have already won the trophy by then, no win counts more for Celtic than a win over Rangers in the Old Firm Derby.

    The Scottish Premier League games happening on the upcoming weekends are going to be exciting for Hoops fans. After a goalless draw with Livingston on Saturday 6th of April, Celtic were not yet able to secure the trophy of the Scottish Premier League. Fans were hoping for a win for Celtic combined with a defeat for Rangers against Motherwell on Sunday, April 7th. This would have ensured an eighth successive championship for the Hoops.


    Will Celtic win this year‘s trophy? Have a look at the betting quotes to see what other people think.

    (Photo by Sandro Schuh on Unsplash)

    Now, Celtic will need to wait for the Scottish Premier League to split before the Hoops can bring home the trophy. With the split coming closer, so too is the last Old Firm Derby of the year on May 12th where Celtic will meet its oldest opponent.

    When did the rivalry between the two teams start?

    With both clubs based in Glasgow and being the two most successful clubs in Scotland, the most heated rivalry in world football, as some might call it, began more than 130 years ago.

    The Old Firm rivalry started with the first meeting in May 1888 when the newly formed Celtic team defeated Rangers 5-2. It is not completely clear whether the term Old Firm originates from that first friendly when commentators described the two teams as 'old, firm friends' or from a satirical comic that was published in 1904. That comic showed an elderly man holding up a sandwich board saying, 'Patronise the Old Firm' with the intention of highlighting the mutual financial benefits of regular meetings between the two clubs.

    History matters

    Let’s have a brief look into the history of the teams to find out where the rivalry comes from. Celtic was formed in 1887 with the intention to raise funds for local Catholic parishes, such as Irish immigrant families. While Scotland was a strongly Protestant country, football was one of the few ways that Catholic families could express their own national identity and so naturally turned to support Celtic. The team started off very successfully: in the first six years of their existence, Celtic won the League Championship four times.

    Rangers was founded three years before Celtic by four Scotsmen. Though Celtic started off successfully, Rangers had to wait longer for their first trophy. As Rangers became larger and more successful, they attracted protestant Scottish football fans who were looking for a team to latch onto, in contrast to the Irish community that supported Celtic. Rangers quickly reaped the rewards of a burgeoning fan base and the rivalry with the Catholics began.

    Nowadays, both teams have the ability to attract top players. No matter the league position of Celtic or Rangers, their battles always remain compelling. If Celtic has not won the trophy by the 12th of May, the Old Firm Derby will definitely become the highlight of the season.
    Last edited: Apr 9, 2019