Fans kept apart at a match between the clubs
|Other names||Glasgow derby|
|First meeting||28 May 1888|
Celtic 5–2 Rangers
|Latest meeting||29 December 2018|
Rangers 1–0 Celtic
2018–19 Scottish Premiership
|Next meeting||31 March 2019 |
Celtic vs Rangers
2018–19 Scottish Premiership
|Most wins||Rangers (160)|
|Largest victory||Celtic 7–1 Rangers|
(19 October 1957)
The Old Firm is the collective name for the Scottish football clubs Celtic and Rangers, which are both based in Glasgow. The two clubs are by far the most successful and popular in Scotland, and the rivalry between them has become deeply embedded in Scottish culture. It has reflected, and contributed to, political, social, and religious division and sectarianism in Scotland. As a result, the fixture has had an enduring appeal around the world.
Between them the two clubs have won 103 Scottish League championships (Rangers with 54 and Celtic with 49), 71 Scottish Cups, and 45 Scottish League Cups. Interruptions to their ascendancy have occurred rarely, most recently with the challenge of the New Firm of Aberdeen and Dundee United in the first half of the 1980s. Since the 1985–86 season, one half of the Old Firm has won the Scottish League consistently and in all but one of seventeen seasons between 1995–96 and 2011–12, both clubs finished in the top two places. In the early 2010s, the holding company of Rangers endured financial difficulties, and was liquidated in 2012. Subsequently, the team was demoted to the fourth tier of the Scottish league. Celtic have won the last seven consecutive Scottish championships.
The clubs have large fan bases around Glasgow and Scotland, and have supporters clubs in most towns throughout Scotland and Northern Ireland and in many cities around the world. In 2005 the presence of Rangers and Celtic was estimated to be worth £120 million to the Scottish economy each year.
The origin of the term is unclear but may derive from the two clubs' initial match in which the commentators referred to the teams as "like two old, firm friends", or alternatively may stem from a satirical cartoon published in a magazine prior to the 1904 Scottish Cup Final between the sides, depicting an elderly man with a sandwich board reading "Patronise The Old Firm: Rangers, Celtic Ltd", highlighting the mutual commercial benefits of their meetings. The name may also be a reference to these two teams being among the original eleven members of the Scottish Football League formed in 1890.
The competition between the two clubs had roots in more than just a simple sporting rivalry. It has as much to do with Northern Ireland as Scotland and this can be seen in the flags, cultural symbols, and emblems of both clubs. It was infused with a series of complex disputes, sometimes centred on religion (Catholic and Protestant), Northern Ireland-related politics (Loyalist and Republican), national identity (British or Irish Scots), and social ideology (Conservatism and Socialism).
Another primary contributor to the intensity of the rivalry in the west of Scotland was that Rangers supporters are historically native Scots and Ulster Scots, and Celtic supporters are historically Irish-Scots. Although the confrontation between the two sets of supporters was often labelled as 'Sectarianism', 'Native-Immigrant tension' was an equally accurate catalyst for hostility between the two teams' supports in Scotland. Rangers' traditional support was largely from the Protestant community, and for decades the club had an unwritten rule whereby they would not knowingly sign a player of the Catholic faith. The policy was decried by Graeme Souness when he became manager, and he brought ex-Celtic forward Mo Johnston to the club in a very public move away from the practice, which no longer continues. Celtic's support was largely from those of Irish Roman Catholic backgrounds and while the club practiced no exclusion of Protestants and signed many of them to play for the team, there was a pro-Catholic mindset among some of the employees. One effect is that Scottish flags are rarer than might be expected amongst both sets of supporters; Celtic fans are more likely to wave the Irish tricolour while Rangers fans tend to wave the Union Jack.
"When I was growing up, I went to a Catholic school, and there wasn’t one Rangers fan in the entire school," said Neil McGarvey, 43, who is involved in the operation of Kerrydale Street, a popular Celtic fan Web site. "It’s much more mixed now — my boy goes to a Catholic school, and there are maybe 5 percent Rangers fans now."— The New York Times, 2012
Celtic were founded in 1887 on the promise that the club would deliver much-needed money and resources to a poverty-stricken Irish Catholic population in East Glasgow (although records indicated little of this income reached those causes) and quickly drew large crowds at their matches, becoming a symbol for that section of the local population which were marginalised in other areas of society and had previously shown little interest in the emerging sport. Rangers had been founded much earlier in 1872 and had no particular religious leanings in their early decades, indeed they were described by the press as friends of Celtic in match reports at the turn of the 20th century. In that era Rangers had won three successive championships and expanded their stadium at great expense, only for one of the new wooden stands to collapse during a Scotland v England fixture in April 1902, killing 25 and injuring hundreds of others. The disaster forced the club to rebuild Ibrox for a second time and financed this by selling off their best players, with Celtic in particular taking advantage of the weakness to win six successive titles between 1905 and 1910 before Rangers returned to their previous strength. The sporting side of the rivalry was now established, with their meetings providing considerable financial benefit as seen in the Scottish Cup finals of 1904 (which appears to be the origin of the 'Old Firm' term) and 1909 when they drew twice and a further replay was ordered, with supporters of both teams deciding to riot on the assumption the results were being fixed to make more money – amid multiple injuries and considerable damage to Hampden Park, the trophy was withheld.
The political aspect of the feud also developed in that period, with perhaps the most significant development occurring in 1912 when Belfast shipbuilders Harland and Wolff (a company which already had anti-Catholic hiring practices) set up a new yard in Glasgow due to instability in Ireland. Hundreds of Ulster Protestant workers, many of Scottish descent, also made the move, and they adopted Rangers – the closest large club to the Govan yard – as their new team. Other events such as World War I and the Easter Rising contributed to the club being adopted as a symbol of the Scottish establishment and of British Unionism in the face of Irish Catholic rebellion personified by the success of Celtic and from that time on, many across Scotland and Northern Ireland (and the diaspora of those communities in England, North America and elsewhere) became supporters of Rangers or Celtic over and above their local teams according to their own political and religious leanings, including polarised attitudes towards 'The Troubles'.
Nevertheless, this dividing line seems to be blurred in 21st century Glasgow: religious adherence in general is falling, marriages between Protestants and Catholics have never been higher and the old certainties — the Rangers supporter voting Conservative and the Celtic supporter voting Labour — are no longer in evidence. In 2005 both Celtic and Rangers joined a project to tackle bigotry and sectarianism in sport, but there was little change in the behaviour and subsequent prosecution of the fans.
The majority of Rangers and Celtic supporters do not get involved in sectarianism, but serious incidents do occur with a tendency for the actions of a minority to dominate the headlines. The Old Firm rivalry fuelled many assaults on Derby days, and some deaths in the past have been directly related to the aftermath of Old Firm matches. An activist group that monitors sectarian activity in Glasgow has reported that on Old Firm weekends, violent attacks increase ninefold over normal levels. An increase in domestic abuse can also be attributed to Old Firm fixtures.
A freedom of information request found that Strathclyde Police incurred costs of £2.4 million for the seven derbies played during the 2010–11 season, with the clubs only contributing £0.3 million towards that. Other high-profile games involving Rangers and Celtic incurred much lower costs. The reason for the disparity in costs and the contribution made is that Strathclyde Police had to increase its activity elsewhere in Glasgow and beyond, while the clubs were only responsible for costs incurred in the vicinity of their stadium. In a period between April 2016 and December 2017, when nine matches were contested (three each at the club's stadia and three at Hampden), more than £550,000 was spent by Celtic, Rangers, the SFA and the SPFL on policing inside the stadium alone. Rangers paid more than Celtic despite having a smaller capacity and a plan for the away support at Ibrox which required less of a 'human barricade' of officers to separate the rival supporters than was necessary at Celtic Park.
In 2015, former Rangers player Brian Laudrup said that the Old Firm topped all of the rivalries he had played in, which included the Milan derby and the Fiorentina-Juventus meetings in Italy; ex-Celtic striker Henrik Larsson, who experienced El Clásico in Spain and De Klassieker in the Netherlands, has made similar comments. Jim Bett, who had already played in Iceland prior to joining Rangers in the 1980s and thereafter moved to Belgium, stated that he declined an opportunity to return to the Ibrox club due to the sectarianism associated with life as a footballer in the west of Scotland, in contrast to his positive experiences living abroad.
Supporters of both clubs, when interviewed, have conceded that they do not particularly enjoy the intense atmosphere of Old Firm matches. Opposing fans fought an on-pitch battle in the aftermath of Celtic's 1–0 victory in the 1980 Scottish Cup Final at Hampden. This remains one of the worst invasions onto a football pitch ever reported, and was instrumental in alcohol being banned from football grounds in Scotland.
In January 1994, Rangers chairman David Murray announced that Celtic fans had been banned from Ibrox due to repeated instances of vandalism to the stadium which Celtic refused to take financial responsibility for. Only one fixture, which ended 1–1, was played before the ban was rescinded (the Scottish Football League passed a resolution preventing clubs from taking that action in future).
There was serious fan disorder during an Old Firm match played on a Sunday evening in May 1999 at Celtic Park, with the usual tensions heightened by the fact that Rangers could clinch the league title with victory (and it became clear that they would do so from the early stages of the match). Several objects were thrown by Celtic fans, one of which struck referee Hugh Dallas forcing the game to be stopped while he received medical treatment. With many of those in attendance having spent a full weekend drinking alcohol prior to the event, at least four Celtic fans invaded the field of play to confront Dallas during the game, and more missiles were thrown at players on the pitch after the game. Since the events of that day, Old Firm league matches have normally been played in the early afternoon and the possibility of an Old Firm title decider has been deliberately avoided.
Over the hundreds of matches played between the rivals, players and staff have been involved in many incidents beyond the usual bad tackles and red cards commonly associated with derby mataches around the world; in the modern age of video footage, such incidents are more frequently observed, reviewed and scrutinised. In 1987, four players were charged by the police with breach of the peace for their conduct during a match at Ibrox and had to appear at court, with two (Chris Woods and Terry Butcher) convicted and fined. While warming up on the touchline at Celtic Park in January 1998, Rangers' Paul Gascoigne was caught on television reacting to verbal abuse from the stands by briefly miming the playing of a flute (representing The Sash and the typical repertoire of songs on an Orange walk, considered an offensive gesture by Celtic's many supporters of an Irish Catholic background). Gascoigne, who had pleaded his ignorance of the situation after he made the same gesture in a friendly just after joining Rangers in 1995 and had been sent off on his last visit to Celtic six weeks earlier, was fined for the provocative act and left the club later that year. He has stated that he later received threats via telephone calls from persons purporting to be members of the IRA over his behaviour.
In 2000, after being sent off during an Old Firm match, Rangers midfielder Barry Ferguson was involved in a violent brawl with Celtic fans at a hotel later in the same evening; a year later, Ferguson (by now club captain) was sitting in the stand when he appeared to throw ice packs towards the Celtic dugout after Rangers conceded a late goal, however the referee missed the incident and no action was taken. In that same match, a Celtic supporter was photographed making an 'aeroplane' gesture towards American Rangers player Claudio Reyna a few weeks after the September 11 attacks. A 2004 match at Ibrox which "descended into even more mayhem and madness than usual" led to a police enquiry over the conduct of the players and staff.
In February 2006, Celtic goalkeeper Artur Boruc was cautioned by the police for gestures he made to Rangers supporters during a match at Ibrox; six months later, it was clarified that this was for "Conduct which appears to incite disorder" rather than simply making the sign of the cross as he entered his area, as some had thought. He also blessed himself in the fixture in December of that year, annoying Rangers fans who saw it as a provocative act, although the police stated that no offence had been committed. Boruc, who became known as the 'Holy Goalie' for his overt displays of his Catholic faith, escaped personal punishment in 2008 for displaying a t-shirt with the slogan "God bless the Pope" and an image of fellow Pole Pope John Paul II after an Old Firm win at Parkhead in April 2008, although Celtic faced scrutiny from FIFA as it was an unauthorised garment under their regulations on slogans. He was fined £500 and warned for (non-religious) gestures made towards Rangers fans in a defeat at the same venue in September of the same year. Prior to an international match between Northern Ireland and Poland in 2009, graffiti of a threatening nature mentioning Boruc appeared on walls in a Rangers-supporting area of Belfast.
In March 2011, an angry exchange took place on the touchline at Celtic Park between Celtic manager Neil Lennon and Rangers assistant coach Ally McCoist, requiring police officers to separate them, at the end of a match in which three players had also been dismissed; again captured on live television footage, the incident resulted in both men being banned from the dugout for disconduct. A 'crisis meeting' was convened involving the clubs, the Scottish Government and Strathclyde Police some days later regarding the trend of violence among supporters away from the pitch increasing on Old Firm mathdays and concerns that incidents during the matches was a factor. The incident occurred during the tense environment of a season where seven Old Firm matches took place (including a League Cup final and a fight for the title eventually won by Rangers by one point).
During the 2018 close season, Rangers announced that they would be cutting the ticket allocation for Celtic fans at Ibrox from around 7,000 (the entire Broomloan Stand) to 800, situated in a corner where smaller travelling supports were usually accommodated, following a fan survey backing the proposal as well as an upturn in season ticket sales. In response, Celtic indicated they would do likewise, bringing to an end a long tradition of both clubs offering an generous proportion of their stadium to their rivals. The development was criticised by former players as diluting the famous atmosphere of the fixtures, although others praised the extra income the change would likely generate.
In the first Old Firm fixture at Celtic Park under the new arrangements, many more home fans were able to attend but segregation was still required outside the stadium to keep them apart from the smaller away support. In the minutes before kick-off, a main access road was closed as part of the amended segregation plan and thousands of spectators approaching Celtic Park from both directions were directed to the narrow enclosed walkway below the North Stand to reach the opposite side of the stadium, along with those trying to enter that stand via turnstiles. The volume of people in the walkway area built up to the extent that many were unable to move forward with more approaching from either side, and crushing was experienced in the congested area for some minutes, causing panic, with several fans scaling a high perimeter wall and fence to escape; one of them fell from the wall and later required hospital treatment, while four other persons were treated at the scene as the situation subsided. Those involved expressed their anger afterwards regarding the arrangements and the policing at the stadium on the day, with Celtic issuing an official apology to the fans.
From 1 March 2012, the police were given more powers to act against Sectarian acts at football matches through the new Offensive Behaviour at Football and Threatening Communications (Scotland) Act 2012. The law was designed specifically to target the Old Firm rivalry by reducing the religious hatred between the two opposing sides. The Act created two new offences, one covering behaviour in and around football matches and the other related to posts sent by either electronic or postal methods. People convicted under the act could face up to five years imprisonment, a much higher sentence than was previously in place. It was hoped it would make it much easier to prosecute this misbehaviour, which had proved difficult in the past.
In March 2013 a protest by a number of Celtic fans took place to protest against the new laws and the subsequent match bans that a number of fans had received for breaking the Act. The protesters, known as the "Green Brigade," had marched without police authority and the event was therefore cracked down on by local authorities resulting in thirteen arrests. The protestors claim that the police instigated the trouble that occurred at this march. Following the march, media coverage reported that the fans were growing further apart from the police than ever before. They claimed that the trust the fans hold with the police to work in cooperation with them is falling dramatically. The march that took place resulted in a number of complaints from both Celtic and Rangers fan groups that they were harassed by the police.
Labour MSP James Kelly introduced the Offensive Behaviour at Football and Threatening Communications (Repeal) (Scotland) Bill in June 2017. Kelly had described the 2012 legislation as having "completely failed to tackle sectarianism" and as "illiberal" which "unfairly targets football fans", and was "condemned by legal experts, human rights organisations and equality groups". Professor Sir Tom Devine previously spoke of the Football Act as "the most illiberal and counterproductive act passed by our young Parliament to date" and a "stain on the reputation of the Scottish legal system for fair dealing". Much was made of when a Sheriff described the law as "mince".
Glasgow-based brewers Tennent's were the primary commercial sponsor of both teams for several years; any local business that only sponsored one would likely lose half its customers. Previously, glazing company CR Smith (who later had a deal with Celtic alone), communications firm NTL and English brewers Carling had also sponsored both clubs.
In 2012, Rangers suffered a financial collapse leading to the liquidation of the commercial entity, however the sporting assets were acquired by a new company which allowed its playing membership to continue unbroken (albeit in the lowest division of the Scottish football league system). As a result, this would mean that for the first time in 120 years, no fixtures would be played between Rangers and Celtic.
The status of the Old Firm was also challenged, following the logic that since Rangers 'died' during the events of 2012, the rivalry also expired and any matches played since that point would be between Celtic and a 'new Rangers', albeit playing at the same stadium, in the same colours, with the same supporters and some of the same players as before. Adherents to this point of view refer to the club disparagingly as Sevco (the original name of the post-2012 holding company), and Rangers supporters as 'zombies' or 'the undead'. This difference of opinion became a new factor in the rivalry.
Some Celtic supporters were particularly vociferous in their assertions, to the extent of a group paying for a full-page newspaper advertisement in January 2015 announcing that their club would soon play its first fixture against the new Rangers.
It is regarded as a continuation of the same club by the SPFL chief executive Neil Doncaster; external governing bodies such as UEFA, the European Club Association and FIFA have never formally stated their position on Rangers but have issued general remarks about the continuation of a club's history when controlled by a new company.
In 2013 numerous complaints were made to the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) over official marketing communications from Rangers which stated they were "Scotland’s most successful club", with this claim being disputed as the complainants declared the club had only been in existence for one year. Having considered the evidence including advice from UEFA, the ASA did not uphold the complaints.
In July 2012, a large banner was displayed at Celtic Park during a game showing a cartoon zombie representing Rangers rising from the grave before being shot by a sniper, drawing criticism due to the gunman resembling a paramilitary from the Northern Ireland conflict, although Celtic escaped formal punishment over the matter. Celtic fan groups have continued to display banners claiming Rangers are ‘dead’ as well as mocking other aspects of their economic problems.
It took Rangers four years to climb through the lower divisions and re-take their place in the Scottish Premiership for the 2016–17 season; in the interim only two cup semi-finals were played between the clubs and Celtic won all four league titles by significant margins (never less than 15 points). The rivalry resumed in earnest by way of six matches during 2016–17, with Celtic eliminating Rangers from both cups at the semi-final stage on the way to lifting the trophies and emerging victorious in three of the matches in the league championship, which they also won without losing a game to secure their sixth successive title and a domestic treble. The 2017–18 season was much the same: Celtic won three of the Old Firm league fixtures plus a Scottish Cup semi-final meeting and lifted all three domestic trophies; Rangers finished third, behind Aberdeen.
Since the administration and liquidation of The Rangers Football Club plc, the clubs have faced each other fifteen times. Celtic have won eleven of these matches, while Rangers won two matches, one via a penalty shootout. The remaining two fixtures were drawn.
|1 February 2015 League Cup Semi-final||Celtic||2 – 0||Rangers||Hampden Park|
|13:30 GMT||Griffiths 10'
Referee: Craig Thomson
|17 April 2016 Scottish Cup Semi-final||Rangers||2 – 2 (a.e.t.)|
(5 – 4 p)
Referee: Craig Thomson
|10 September 2016 Premiership||Celtic||5 – 1||Rangers||Celtic Park|
|Dembélé 33', 42', 83'
|BBC||Garner 44'||Attendance: 58,348|
Referee: Willie Collum
|23 October 2016 League Cup Semi-final||Rangers||0 – 1||Celtic||Hampden Park|
|BBC||Dembélé 87'||Attendance: 50,697|
Referee: Craig Thomson
|31 December 2016 Premiership||Rangers||1 – 2||Celtic||Ibrox Stadium|
|Miller 12'||BBC||Dembélé 34'
Referee: Steven McLean
|12 March 2017 Premiership||Celtic||1 – 1||Rangers||Celtic Park|
|Armstrong 35'||BBC||Hill 87'||Attendance: 58,545|
Referee: Bobby Madden
|23 April 2017 Scottish Cup Semi-final||Celtic||2 – 0||Rangers||Hampden Park|
Sinclair 51' (pen.)
Referee: Willie Collum
|29 April 2017 Premiership||Rangers||1 – 5||Celtic||Ibrox Stadium|
|Miller 81'||BBC||Sinclair 7' (pen.)
Referee: John Beaton
|23 September 2017 Premiership||Rangers||0 – 2||Celtic||Ibrox Stadium|
Referee: Craig Thomson
|30 December 2017 Premiership||Celtic||0 – 0||Rangers||Celtic Park|
Referee: Bobby Madden
|11 March 2018 Premiership||Rangers||2 – 3||Celtic||Ibrox Stadium|
Referee: Willie Collum
|15 April 2018 Scottish Cup Semi-final||Celtic||4 – 0||Rangers||Hampden Park|
Dembélé 52' (pen.)
Ntcham 78' (pen.)
Referee: Bobby Madden
|29 April 2018 Premiership||Celtic||5 – 0||Rangers||Celtic Park|
|Édouard 14', 41'
Referee: Craig Thomson
|2 September 2018 Premiership||Celtic||1 – 0||Rangers||Celtic Park|
|Ntcham 62'||BBC||Attendance: 58,865|
Referee: Willie Collum
|29 December 2018 Premiership||Rangers||1 – 0||Celtic||Ibrox Stadium|
|Jack 30'||BBC||Attendance: 49,863|
Referee: John Beaton
|49||Scottish first-tier League Championships||54|
|18||Scottish League Cup||27|
|European and Worldwide|
|1||UEFA Champions League/European Cup||—|
|—||UEFA Cup Winners' Cup||1|
There are a number of matches between the two clubs that are not recognised in the official records, such as their first competitive meeting in the 1888–89 Glasgow Cup, in which Celtic defeated Rangers 6–1.
|Glasgow Merchants Charity Cup[b]||1892–1961||46||23||16||7[c]|
|Glasgow League / Inter City League||1895–1906||19||6||9||4|
|Glasgow International Exhibition Cup||1901||1||1||0||0|
|British League Cup||1902||1||0||1||0|
During the Second World War, the Scottish Football League and Scottish Cup were suspended and in their place unofficial regional league competitions were set up (these were dominated by Rangers). One of these games was a New Year's Day derby in 1943 which Rangers won 8–1.
|Emergency Western League||1939–1940||2||1||0||1|
|Southern League Cup||1940–1946||4||4||0||0|
* Four or more goals difference between the teams.
The ferocity of the rivalry has made it rare for a player to represent both teams during his career. Players who played for both sides of the Old Firm included Alec Bennett, Scott Duncan, Robert Campbell, and George Livingstone, who all played before the intensity of the rivalry had started prior to 1912, as well as later players: Alfie Conn, Maurice Johnston, Kenny Miller, Steven Pressley and Mark Brown (none of whom moved directly between the two clubs).
As of end of season 2017–18. Any current players in bold.
As of end of season 2017–18. Any current players in bold.
As of 29 December 2018. Minimum 10 Old Firm games as manager.
|Name||Team||Years||Overall Record||League Record|
|Games||Wins||Win %||Games||Wins||Win %|
|Walter Smith||Rangers||1991–1998, 2006–2011||56||28||50%||46||22||48%|
|Billy McNeill||Celtic||1978–1983, 1987–1991||46||22||48%||36||16||44%|
|Jock Wallace||Rangers||1972–1978, 1984–1986||38||15||39%||28||9||32%|
The stadium attendance records for Rangers' Ibrox (118,567, January 1939) and Celtic's Celtic Park (at least 83,500, January 1938) were both set at Old Firm matches; however while the Ibrox figure is the Rangers club record (and the record for any domestic league match in the United Kingdom), Celtic's biggest 'home' attendance was the 1969–70 European Cup semi-final with Leeds United, moved to the larger Hampden Park due to the anticipated interest: the crowd of 136,505 is a record for any match in European international club competitions.
Hampden, Scotland's national stadium and home of Queen's Park, is situated roughly an equal distance from Ibrox and Celtic Park in Glasgow. Due to the frequency of the two teams appearing in semi-finals and finals held there (often facing one another), its West and East stands are always allocated to the same club and are informally known as the Rangers end and Celtic end respectively. That stadium, once the largest in the world, attracted the largest Old Firm attendance of all time with 132,870 at the 1969 Scottish Cup Final (it is not the record for the competition, with 147,365 having attended the 1937 final which also featured Celtic, versus Aberdeen). The record Scottish League Cup final attendance (107,609; October 1965) was an Old Firm affair, although the tournament record was set in 1947 when Rangers overcame Hibernian in a semi-final before 123,830.
The 1971 Ibrox disaster – in which 66 Rangers supporters died in a crush on an exterior stairway – occurred at the end of an Old Firm match, although the identity of the opposition was not a factor in the incident other than having drawn a large crowd of at least 75,000 to the event.
Since redevelopments completed in the 1990s, all three venues are all-seater with much smaller capacities of between 50,000 and 60,000, meaning the above records may never be beaten – the attendance of 72,069 at 'old style' Hampden for the Old Firm 1989 Scottish Cup Final has become a landmark figure as no match in Scotland has come close to matching it since.
When compared to other clubs in Scotland, the Old Firm maintain considerably higher attendances; Celtic's recorded crowds tend to be higher than Rangers as their stadium holds approximately 9,000 more seats. Both clubs (among others) have been accused of inflating their attendance figures by counting all season ticket holders in the crowd when many have not actually attended the match in question, with the accurate figures reported to the police for crowd control being lower.
The intensity of the rivalry is fuelled by the clubs' historical duopoly in Scottish football, with most meetings between them being pivotal in deciding the destiny of a championship or cup and anything but a title-winning season seen as a major disappointment, particularly as it would usually mean 'the enemy' has won the trophy.
Statistics show that Rangers and Celtic have been by far the most successful clubs involved in the Scottish Football League since its formation in 1890. The pair were the only participants in every ion of the competition until 2012, when Rangers were removed from the top tier for economic reasons; they returned for the 2016–17 season. Of the 121 championships played, 103 (85%) have been won by one of the Old Firm with Rangers ahead on 54 titles to Celtic's 49, and 19 between ten other clubs (including a shared title between Rangers and Dumbarton).
Although there have been brief periods when silverware went elsewhere, there have also been long spells of domination by each Old Firm club, the longest run of 9-in-a-row being first set by Celtic between 1966 and 1974, matched by Rangers between 1989 and 1997.
On just five occasions since 1891 have neither of the Glasgow giants been the league winner nor the runner-up. This includes 1964–65, the only season in which both Rangers and Celtic failed to finish in the top three places. The Old Firm have finished 1st and 2nd 48 times overall. Between the resurgence of Celtic in the mid-1990s and the liquidation of Rangers in 2012, '1–2' finishes were recorded in all but one of 17 SPL-era seasons.
The longest sequence without an Old Firm title is three years between 1983 and 1985, while the longest unbroken run of championships between the two clubs began immediately afterwards and is ongoing: 33 seasons and counting since 1986 (overtaking a previous sequence of 27 years between 1905 and 1931).
As of end of season 2017–18. Runners-up in (parentheses)
|One club 1st, other 2nd||24 (24)||24 (24)||48||40%|
|One club 1st, other not top 2||25||30||55||45%|
|Title wins by Old Firm club||49||54||103||85%|
|One club 2nd, other not top 2||N/A (7)||N/A (6)||13||11%|
|Neither club in top 2||N/A||N/A||5||4%|
|Title wins by another club||N/A||N/A||18*||15%|
|Totals||49 (31)||54 (30)||121||100%|
Although the initial Scottish Cup was played in 1874, 15 years before Celtic were formed, they have still won the competition more than any other club - 38 times, plus 18 runners-up - with Rangers not far behind on 33 (also 18 runners-up).
There have been 14 Old Firm finals, while there have been just 39 finals involving neither Rangers or Celtic, 17 of which were in the 1800s.
As of end of season 2017–18. Runners-up in (parentheses)
|Old Firm final||7 (7)||7 (7)||14||11%|
|One winner, other not involved||31||26||57||43%|
|Cup wins by an Old Firm club||38||33||71||54%|
|One runner-up, other not involved||N/A (11)||N/A (11)||22||17%|
|neither club involved||N/A||N/A||39||29%|
|Cup wins by another club||N/A||N/A||61||46%|
|Totals||38 (18)||33 (18)||132||100%|
The Scottish League Cup has been contested 73 times since 1946–47. Rangers are dominant in terms of wins with 27 from 34 finals, with Celtic some way behind on 18 wins from 33 finals. 13 other clubs share 28 wins between them. 14 of its finals have been Old Firm occasions, while 20 featured neither of them.
As of end of the 2018–19 competition which concluded in December 2018. Runners-up in (parentheses)
|Old Firm final||5 (9)||9 (5)||14||19%|
|One winner, other not involved||13||18||31||42%|
|Cup wins by an Old Firm club||18||27||45||61%|
|One runner-up, other not involved||N/A (6)||N/A (2)||8||11%|
|neither club involved||N/A||N/A||20||28%|
|Cup wins by another club||N/A||N/A||28||39%|
|Totals||18 (15)||27 (7)||73||100%|
The Rangers–Celtic rivalry in women's football has existed only in the 21st century, with Rangers W.F.C. having formed in 2008, one year after the Celtic F.C. women's team. The footballing environment is also very different, with a third team in the city – Glasgow City F.C. – not merely competing in the same division as the more famous names and attracting a similar fanbase, but dominant over them in the domestic league, with twelve consecutive titles up to 2018. Rangers have only finished above Celtic once (2014), and neither club has won the Scottish Women's Cup; Celtic have lifted the SWPL Cup on one occasion, in 2010.
Fixtures between the teams generate extra media interest due to their association with the parent clubs and are referred to as Old Firm matches as a result. On 13 April 2016, Celtic women’s team played their first competitive match at Celtic Park, marking the occasion with a 5–1 victory over Rangers.
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Old Firm games are absolutely toxic; they have fantastic atmospheres but are fuelled entirely by hate," Joyce, a Celtic fan, told Al Jazeera. "They are not nice places to be. You don't leave them feeling elated, you leave them feeling relieved.
For David Edgar, a Rangers supporter of many years standing, the pre-match tension is never diminished. "Nobody enjoys going to Old Firm games. It's a really strange, queasy sensation. You can't sleep, you try to force some food down, the heart's beating, your hands are shaking, you're twitchy, you're nervous, you're talking through your arse."
Once inside, the disparity in terms of support was even more evident, with the Spanish followers occupying the whole of what is traditionally regarded as the Rangers end of the ground. Fans of Bayer filled less than half of the Celtic end, but they did not let that stop themselves being heard
It is also incredibly galling to fans that the so-called national stadium should have two ends unofficially accepted by the governing bodies as the Celtic and Rangers ends. It's noticeable that both Glasgow clubs get these ends regardless of the opposition in any final.
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