Celtic’s Historic Rivalries. The Battles That Defined Scottish Football


COMPETITIONS make life interesting as they allow people to bring out their competitiveness. Some people prefer being in the mix of things, while others like being on the sidelines and cheering others on in their plays. Casinos are great examples of competitive avenues.

Even in online casino setups like William Hill online, people still bring their A-game, ready to take the prize home. The football scene is similar. Since football’s inception, competition has been rife, which has sometimes stirred up rivalries. We look at how this has played out for Celtic:

Celtic in Scottish Football Rivalries

There can only be one winner in any football league. As a result, teams are always trying their best to clinch the title. This push results in some friction between the teams and their fans. But it’s almost always in good faith, as the teams below have shown:


The confrontations between the two Glasgow neighbours are legendary in the world of football. These encounters are often played at a ferocious pace where no quarter is asked or given. These are not skirmishes for the faint-hearted. Celtic great Bertie Auld, one of the victorious side which conquered Europe – the first British club to do so – in Lisbon on the evening of May 24 1967, insisted: “These games separated the men from the boys.”

Remarkably, Celtic’s first official match was against Rangers on May 28 1888 where the Hoops triumphed 5-2. The clubs have been inescapably linked since that historic event.

The Ibrox club, of course, went into liquidation in February 2012 and many Celtic supporters refuse to recognise the team from across the River Clyde as ‘Rangers’. Be that as it may, the tribal rivalry is still there for all to see when the clubs lock horns on matchday. The fervour has never faded no matter what incarnation which as been adopted by the Govan club.

Celtic icon Henrik Larsson played for Barcelona v Real Madrid and Feyenoord v Ajax and he never hesitated when he was asked about the biggest derby in which he had performed. “Celtic against Rangers,” he emphasised – and no-one ever argued with the Swedish superstar.

2.    Celtic v Aberdeen

Aberdeen and Celtic have been fighting for the top spot for a while now. And it was only a matter of time before their fans reacted to this pressure. The media has also been hyping Celtic v Aberdeen matches, having noticed that the two teams have equal shots at the title. With each highlighted match, the number of eyes on the teams continues to grow.

So, what makes their rivalry special? People often expect rivalries to be harsh and feature fans willing to go the extra mile for their teams. But the Aberdeen vs. Celtic rivalry is respectful. Yes, you read that right! While some tackles may get highlighted, the matches are friendly. The teams bring their A-games and accept the results, much to the joy of their fans, who can walk back home hand-in-hand.

Predictions show that Aberdeen’s rise will not sour this friendly rivalry, making it one of the best Scottish football rivalries.

3.    Celtic v Hibs 

The relationship between these teams is quite interesting. Some of it stems from Celtic’s founding – some fans claim that Celtic copied Hibs, resulting in many debates. Even so, the team rivalry is more of a back-and-forth that barely dents the matches. And with Celtic enjoying a sizeable gap in the rankings between them and the Edinburgh side, it’s likely that the rivalry will remain subtle.

4.    Celtic v Hearts

Hearts has an ongoing rivalry with city neighbours Hibs. But this seems to have spread to Celtic. Perhaps an enemy of my enemy is no longer a friend. Hearts’ rise in the rankings does not help either, but this competition has yet to result in any adverse reactions from fans on either side.

These teams are proof that rivalries can be fun for all involved!

Respectful Rivalries

Differences between teams are common. After all, they all want to win, and the competition can sometimes result in added pressure. Sometimes, this heat spills over to the fans. So, what can you do in the face of a rivalry?

  • Understand that football is just a game: As much as football is a profession for many players, its core goal is to provide entertainment. And since it is a game, there must be winners and losers. It’s part of the game; coming to terms with this fact can help you be more objective.
  • Leave the emotions out of the game: Happiness, anger, shock, and sadness are all part of the game. But these should not cloud your judgment when dealing with rival teams. If you think your emotions have the best of you, take time off and work through them. Exploiting them only makes things worse.
  • Avoid groupthink setups: Human beings are often very objective. But in a group setting, groupthink often supersedes individuality. As such, even when you have mastered how to be level-headed, having temperamental fans around you can dull your judgment. Stay away from such situations.

Football is just one aspect of your life. Don’t let your feelings towards it mar other areas of your existence.


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