“To suggest that Celtic could carry on regardless without their old rivals is like claiming that Othello would be the same play if Iago or Othello were abruptly scratched from the script. Both teams define themselves by their opposition to the other. It can, on occasion, spill over into repellent sectarianism, but the great rivalries — be it Ali and Frazier, Prost and Senna or Nadal and Federer — are what enable sport to transcend the perfunctory accumulation of points, wins and trophies that it might otherwise be. John McEnroe and Björn Borg played out one of tennis’ great rivalries but after three years of fierce contests, the Swede retired in 1981 and McEnroe admitted that his career was never the same again.”
My latest Pitchside Europe column for Eurosport, which contemplates how Rangers’ sudden descent into administration could affect their hated rivals Celtic, can be read here.