Pitchside Europe: Could Celtic really survive without Rangers?

“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.

23 Responses to “Pitchside Europe: Could Celtic really survive without Rangers?”


    Tom – Peter Lawell did not say Celtic would carry on regardless without them he said Celtic will survive

  • Duncan:

    Of course Celtic could survive without Rangers — just as Rangers could survive without Celtic!

    But it’s a moot point anyway, as Rangers won’t be going anywhere. They may dissolve and re-merge under another name, but they’ll still be there, followed by the same knuckledragging neantherdals who spewed their hatred at the Kilmarnock game…..and that’s a genuine pity!

  • Paul:

    Yep, Peter Lawwell said we would survive. His point was, I believe, that Celtic would never find itself in the same situation because our financial model is not reliant on any other club, or indeed on TV money. Really, we’re talking about two different things; the survival of Celtic Football Club (gawd bless us) on the one hand, and the way the league and cups will pan out with either a severely weakened, or entirely new, Rangers on the other.

    So, as regards the former, we (Celtic) are fine. We will certainly never have HMRC hammering at the door, certainly not while Lawwell is at the helm. On the other hand, I have to say, I’m not eating my jelly and ice cream. I love derby day, I love beating Rangers, I love winning anything because that means we did it at the expense of Rangers. Doing all these things against a Rangers team akin to that of (with the absolute greatest respect) the current Hibs team…well, it will certainly take the gloss off, because, of course, we can no longer exceed expectations domestically, we can only meet them.

    Finally, I say give them their 10 points back, I don’t want our title cheapened or tainted. I don’t care, we are better than them anyway. And anyway, there are much more important things to worry about — like the future of Scottish football more generally, we (meaning the SPL) might not need Rangers, but it’s just one more nail in the coffin as far as I’m concerned.

  • Brave Tom Williams we salute you….
    And in answer to your question eh…..YES!

  • Joe:

    Could they survive without rangers? yes, they could. In reality, do they really want to? I’d say no. Who else could we laugh at if there was no rangers?

  • eddie:

    “they are a part of scottish culture”? a culture we can well do without, everything rangers is based on hatered of roman catholics/irish, if any team has ruined scottish football its rangers, in the 80’s aberdeen and dundee utd where forces in not only scotland but also in europe, then murray came along, the “level playing field” was no more, they bought their way to glory, once aberdeen and utd fans suddenly became the gloating, glory hunting rangers fans, thus the decline of 2 clubs began, the quicker rangers are banished from scottish football, the quicker we can become a country than can join the 21st century

    • scott:

      if rangers fc go under then celtic will die you lot only live to hate, you THINK WE THE PEOPLE are all anti catholic. WE DONT CARE you are always blaming someone

  • HappyDude:


    We, and the rest of Scottish football, would thrive without their influence.

    You have to understand, Rangers have dragged Scottish football down for years with their institutionalised cheating to win titles.

    Someone said of them, “It’s incredible. Rangers didn’t want to play football. Right from the start they went for anti-football.”

    Some wee guy said that, he probably wouldn’t have got a game for the huns for being too wee.

  • paul:

    Celtic could survive without rangers but it would seriously devalue our game the old firm derby is without a doubt one of the best in the world the problem is no celtic fan can feel any sympathy for them I despise everything they stand for but deep down I want them around if only to rub there faces in it for years to come but they must pay for there financial mismanagement they deserve what’s coming there way !!!

  • eddie:

    paul, they are a cancer in scottish society, they breed hatred, if they dont survive, scotland will be all the better for it

  • Raymac:

    Let’s all vote to have your city sacked. Continents ignored. We’ll go anywhere. We no care! Nobody likes us-we don’t care!!

  • Raymac:

    Ask ANYWHERE they have been. Do you want them back?

  • Raymac:

    Ask the same question of Celtic supporters. Do you want them back? Ask FIFA and EUFA.

  • Jamie:

    Wont be reading the article your talking p#$h

  • Jamie:

    Your article should just read Hearts Hibs rest of Scottish football are pointless and worthless. none can carry on without the gers.

    they are the people, without them life is over.

    Absolute P$%^

  • yogI:

    a few of you are like the scottish media and suffering from selective memory loss,but I can remember the vile comments and the rubbing of hands at our imminent demise and that was only from the scottish media,no surprise there then .rosenborg,olimpyque lyon and many others have existed for years on european money ,but these clowns like keevins,wishart,etc have overnight become expert accountants and number crunchers all in the name of keeping their club in business,although in keevins part heis frightened of rangers and the influence they once had in scotland, to keep his job.he will never be a patch on wee speirs.

  • Tom:

    Thanks for all the comments everyone. My only point was that, from a neutral perspective, it would be a massive shame to lose one of the most compelling rivalries in the sport, but I accept that Lawwell’s comments about carrying on without Rangers reflected purely economic considerations.

  • yogI:

    why is it that suddenly we celtic people have to be compassinate and contrite towards an organisation that has despised us from our very beginning?.why were there no arrests at ibrox park last week for the filth and hatred we all had the misfortune to hear?.no such compassion shown then,was there?.rangers are an organisation who cannot accept criticism,being beaten fairly on the park or being magmanimous in defeat,and that is why there is litle or no goodwill for them outside of this country where catholics,jews,hindus and everyone else who is not an extreme right wing member of exclusive protesant organisations will always be singled out of mainstream scottish society.

  • MaxX:

    Surely there’s a big derby waiting to step into the void?
    What could be better than a Glasgow-Edinburgh derby between Celtic and hertz.
    Hertz have the same bitter sectarian bigotry for the Celtic support to detest, with the added Glas/Edin slant.
    Glasgow has suffered long enough at the hands of the master race and the majority of it’s population will be more than happy to see the back of them.
    They have cheated the sport, every team in Scotland, the fans and every taxpayer in the UK for decades.
    24 MILLION unpaid tax.
    12 MILLION in interest.
    18 MILLION in penalties.
    And to cap it all, have been sticking two fingers up at The Queen, her tax officers and the entire population of the UK with their sense of entitlement by withholding 9 MILLION in PAYE and NI contributions from ‘their staff and players this season alone!
    Because they think they’re above the laws of the land!
    Because they believe they are ‘the peepel’!
    Anyone watching sundays game at Killie got the message loud and clear, F**** the Pope, no pope of rome, the illegal famine song and equally illegal up to their knees in fenian blood, amongst others, were belted in defiance!
    What’s to miss?
    The world of sport, the integrity of football an d humanity itself will be far better place without what this nasty collection of sectarian racist bigots consider to be ‘dignity’.

  • MaxX:

    Ps. they also showed their ‘loyalty’ to their staff by trying to sign cousins at 7500 ponds a week while supposedly being forced to pay-off several staff that 30 grand a month would go along way to covering.

    The same can be said of their ‘loyalty’ to their own support when they went behind their back and sold off a big wedge of 4yrs of season ticket, the monies gained from that deal again showing their contempt for the Britian and it’s honest taxpayers, as rangers decided that they wouldn’t pay any tax on it!

  • pat:

    The amount of people who normally wouldn’t give Scottish football the time of day but are now suddenly experts on what it or Celtic or any other club ‘needs’ is getting pretty tiresome.

    It is another example of the ignorance displayed – in particular by the English – to the game in Scotland but perhaps more importantly, its culture.

    Most of these are put in economic terms – something far less important than sporting integrity, tax evasion, financial doping, Scottish society – but at least this article is sticking to the derby. It suggests that Celtic and Rangers define themselves by their rivals. This is far more true for one side of the rivalry than the other. A listen to the songbook from the most recent game at Ibrox will tell you which side that is.

  • Definitly NOT. I am a FC BARCELONA member and I don’t like Real Madrid at all, but certainly if Madrid doesn’t exist We lose the ancestral rivalry so I preffer Madrid playing at the same League of Barcelona, and If could be, in the same level. That’s football, and the top teams in several league need each other.

  • Daniel:

    Have you seen VICE’s new documentary on Rangers & Celtic that’s gone up this week?


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