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Joe Brolly Was Blown Away By One Aspect Of Celtic v Rangers Experience

Joe Brolly Was Blown Away By One Aspect Of Celtic v Rangers Experience
Eoin Harrington
By Eoin Harrington
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There are few occasions in the world of sport which carry the potential for vitriol quite like Celtic v Rangers in the Old Firm.

The iconic Glasgow derby has been one of the world's most famous for decades now, even after a brief hiatus of games during Rangers' wilderness years in the early 2010s.

The clashing political and religious identities of the two teams are the main source of tension between the pair, and are linked heavily to the Irish diaspora of Glasgow.

Speaking on his podcast Free State ahead of the renewal of the rivalry in Sunday's Scottish Cup semi-final, Joe Brolly recently shared a brilliant story of his first experience of attending a Celtic v Rangers match. Brolly said that, even with the fixture's infamous reputation, he could not believe the intensity from some of the Celtic fans around him.

Joe Brolly shares hilarious Celtic v Rangers story

Old Firm matches have been dampened in intensity somewhat in recent years, with ticket allocations for away fans significantly reduced as part of an ongoing dispute between Celtic and Rangers.

Nonetheless, it is still the most tense derby in Britain, and police presence is always strong whether at Ibrox or at Celtic Park.


Joe Brolly's podcast Free State with broadcaster Dion Fanning is a terrific listen, and this week Brolly shared his experience of when a friend once asked Brolly to join him at Celtic Park for an Old Firm game.



Brolly is no stranger to big occasions, having played in Derry's only ever All-Ireland final win in 1993 at Croke Park. Even so, he could not believe the passion on show from the fans at the Old Firm.

Brolly shared an outrageous story of a fan nearby demanding he be passed a flamethrower to fire at the Rangers fans, in a story which just about sums up the hostility on show from fans at Scotland's most famous fixture:

I went to a Celtic-Rangers match once. A friend of mine said, 'you must come, they're great occasions.' I never saw the like of it.

There was a man in his 50s with orange hair beside us and he was saying - you know, I had never seen this before, the Rangers supporters were in the wee enclosure on their own in the corner and they had, like, police officers on horseback and all to escort them. They weren't allowed to leave the ground at the end.

There was a man beside me and he was there with his child. He had a child with him, and he was shouting, 'somebody give me a flamethrower, I'll flame throw these orange bastards!'

I was thinking, 'Jesus, what the fuck?' He's screaming, 'Fucking flamethrow those orange bastards, argh!'

Fuck me. I'd never seen the like of it.

Celtic v Rangers is certainly not a game for the faint of heart. The teams next meet on Sunday in the Scottish Cup semi-final at Hampden Park, with kick-off at 1:30.



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