Definition of The Old Firm Derby

The Old Firm derby is one of the most renowned football rivalries on the planet. Despite Scotland's falling reputation in the wider European game, the rivalry between Glaswegian clubs Celtic and Rangers remains as intense as ever.

For clear sporting reasons, these clubs have been destined to become fierce rivals. The two of them have won the most trophies in Scottish football history, combining together to have 104 league titles, 72 Scottish Cups and 46 Scottish League Cups. They have fought for every trophy, almost every year.

Another reason for this rivalry comes from outside of sports. Rangers fans have historically been Protestant Scots, with the club even having a rule in the past against signing players who were Roman Catholic. Celtic, of course, were the opposite, having a strong Catholic fanbase. While this religious divide (and political; Rangers as Conservative and Celtic as Labour) has decreased in the 21st century, the core elements can still be spotted.

The rivalry has gotten violent at times, with multiple on-pitch invasions in high-profile matches. 1965, 1969, 1977 and 1980 all saw clashes between fans, with the latter being the largest. Players have also joined in on the brawling, such is the rivalry between the two.

One of the reasons for the cooling over the past decade was Rangers in 2012. They had some major financial issues and actually dissolved, before being reformed and placed at the bottom of the Scottish League system. They reached the Scottish Premier League (SPL) again in 2016-17, allowing for the Old Firm to once again be played regularly.

Because Celtic has been so dominant in terms of league and cup titles, it seems hard to imagine that Rangers could upset the balance for a while. However, now that they are back, the rivalry can begin in earnest once more.