Perhaps the saddest aspect of Ranger’s demotion, extinction and absence from the top flight of Scottish football in recent has been the fact that fans have been deprived of the Glasgow derby. Whether you had an interest in Scottish football or not, the 4 times a year that the teams from Scotland’s biggest city collided were always worth watching! Drama, passion, guts, goals, tears and joy. Words cannot express what this one game means to different people. Religious differences aside the clubs are long term rivals and the prospect of future derby clashed must wet the appetite of all football fans.
Although the basis for the term is unclear, the words Old Firm make the hairs on the back of the net stand up. Almost 100 league titles between them, domination of the domestic game and success in Europe as not stopped the Old Firm game being the decisive point of the season. One may be higher in the league, another may reach a cup final but the season will be judged on the games that matter and to Rangers and Celtic fans that can only mean the Old Firm.
Memorable games dominate fans minds such as the 6-2 thrashing Celtic dished out in 2000, the 5-1 win Rangers returned in the same year and the record 7-1 Celtic win the in the 1950s. Each fan has their own personal memory of a game that captures the entire footballing world.
Trouble has marred the clash and the police presence for the match is higher than in any other British derby. Although a passionate city, Glasgow is a small one and on derby day it is sometimes safer to stay indoors than venture out into the sea of blue and green/white hoops. Violence marred matches in the 1980 Cup Final when fans brawled on the pitch and in 1999 objects were thrown around Celtic Park. The occasions though are rare and it is the football that often does the talking.
Many players have attempted to play for both sides, some with more respect than others but the people, players and fans of Glasgow are expected to nail their colours to one mast. Green and White of Celtic of the Blue of Rangers.
The joys of the Old Firm game were taken away from fans as Rangers suffered demotion and had to reform from the lower ranks to the Scottish Leagues. Celtic fans may have taken joy in the troubles of their bitterest rivals but deep down felt a gaping void as the season began with the traditional countdown to Old Firm Day. The passion will return, the teams will contest the title again and the footballing world will be treated to the joy, passion and excitement of the Old Firm game.