Rangers vs Celtic: Bitter Old Firm rivals are the best of enemies

The rivalry between Rangers and Celtic is one of the most bitter in football, with differing views regarding religion and politics central to the divide.

Celtic fans tend to sit on the Catholic side of religion, while Rangers supporters have a history that is rooted within the Protestant Community.

Those alliances see Celtic fans align themselves politically with the Republic of Ireland, with Rangers identifying strongly with Great Britain.

Games between the two sides are often fiercely fought affairs, regularly producing highly controversial moments.

Read on as we take a closer look at the rivalry.

History of the Old Firm

Celtic and Rangers were generally friendly with each other during their early years, but the situation changed dramatically in 1912.

The opening of a shipyard in Govan by Belfast shipbuilders Harland & Wolff is said to be the point where Irish politics were introduced to Glasgow.

Subsequent political events like the Easter Rising in Dublin strengthened the ill-feeling and the battle lines between Celtic and Rangers were firmly established.

Sectarianism became entrenched within the rivalry and remains embedded within the psyche of many fans on both sides.

Recent History

Most Celtic fans argue that the 2012 liquidation of Craig Whyte’s holding company, which owned Rangers, marked the end of the football club.

The ‘new-co’ Rangers for forced to apply for entry to the third tier of the Scottish League, effectively making them a different club in the eyes of Celtic supporters.

However, UEFA has confirmed that their statutes allow for a team to have “sporting continuity” under different corporate ownership.

While that doesn’t sit well with those of a Celtic persuasion, Rangers fans are convinced that the current incarnation of the club is one and the same.

Key Statistics

There have been 420 previous meetings between the two sides, with Rangers winning 162, Celtic 159 and 99 drawn matches.

Rangers also lead the way in terms of silverware, winning 115 major trophies against 109 for their big rivals.

Celtic hold the record for the biggest victory in Old Firm matches after recording a 7-1 success in the Scottish League Cup back in 1957.

The biggest attendance for Rangers versus Celtic fixture was 118,567 for a league game at Ibrox during the 1938/39 season.

Current Status

Celtic are the dominant force in Scottish football at the moment having won the league title for the last eight years.

They are well on track to make it nine-in-a-row this term, with Rangers currently trailing behind in second place.

The pair remain a long way clear of the rest of the Scottish Premiership and that is unlikely to change over the coming years.

Rangers will certainly hope to overhaul Celtic in the near future, but they still have plenty of work to do before they achieve that feat.