Glasgow Football Clubs and Stadiums

Is there a more explosive rivalry in football than that between Glasgow Celtic and Glasgow Rangers? Not that they’re typically referred to with the city in their title, of course, we just added that for dramatic effect. Still, it’s true that the Old Firm is one of the most intense matches played between teams located in the same city anywhere in the world. It is probably Britain’s most fiercely contested game, with Liverpool v Manchester United arguably the only one that can compare and even that is an intercity match up rather than one featuring two teams located in the same one.

Between them, Celtic and Rangers are easily Scotland’s most successful football clubs. Whenever conversations take place in which people suggest that Scottish Premiership teams could compete in the Premier League it is generally the two Glasgow-based sides that people are referring to. The reality is that the top-flight in England is a much stronger division than its Scottish equivalent, though the two Glasgow sides could likely hold their own against the majority of Premier League teams. So what can we tell you about the two sides and the grounds that they play their football in?

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Football Stadiums in Glasgow

Stadium Capacity Team League
Celtic Park 60,411 Celtic Scottish Premiership
Firhill Stadium 10,102 Partick Thistle Scottish Championship
Hampden Park 51,866 Scotland / Queen's Park Scottish League One
Ibrox 50,817 Rangers Scottish Premiership

Celtic - Celtic Park (1.90 Miles to George Square)

Celtic Park
By Glasgow Celtic [CC BY-SA 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons

The Celtic Football Club, to give the side its full name, was founded in 1887. The founder of the club was an Irish Marist named Brother Walfrid and it was officially constituted in a church - a fitting location considering the reason for the rivalry between the two teams of Glasgow. The idea behind the club was to raise money for the Poor Children's Dinner Table, a charity that Walfrid had formed to help the poor children of Glasgow’s East End. Ironically considering the angry relations that were to follow, Celtic’s first game was against Rangers and was a 'friendly' that the newly formed side won 5-2.

Celtic’s first trophy came in 1892, just five years after the club had been formed. They beat Queen’s Park 5-1 in the Scottish Cup. That was a sign of things to come, with the Scottish club winning the country’s championship for the first time the following year. 1892 was also when Celtic moved into Celtic Park, the stadium that remains their home to this day. At the time of writing, Celtic have won another 47 titles since that first one in 1893, just six fewer titles than Rangers. Celtic Park has witnessed numerous incredible matches over the years, but few more noteworthy than the game between Celtic and Rangers that took place on New Year’s Day 1938 in front of 83,500 people.

Celtic and Rangers have won more than one hundred titles between them, which is an incredible amount of success for one city to boaset. To give you some indication of why this is so impressive, the rest of the clubs in Scotland have won the top-flight title nineteen times in total. The rivalry between the clubs is based on far more than merely their successes on the pitch, of course. Celtic’s supporters are traditionally Irish and Scots or Irish descent with a strongly Roman Catholic background. Rangers, meanwhile, tend to take supporters with a Protestant background from Northern Ireland who often support British Unionism. These different religious factions often use Old Firm matches to express their political and religious feelings, which has often led to trouble.

Rangers - Ibrox Stadium (2.35 Miles to George Square)

Ibrox
By Robinson3048 (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 or GFDL], via Wikimedia Commons

Rangers is Scotland’s most successful football club, having won fifty-four top-flight titles at the time of writing. They have picked up more league titles and domestic trebles than any other club in the world. The Scottish league may be weaker than others, of course, but it’s still strong enough for that fact to deserve recognition. One of the founding members of the Scottish Football League, Rangers was founded in 1872 and it’s fair to say that the club has endured a significant number of ups and downs over the years since. Highs include the nine titles in a row that the club won between 1988 and 1997, with the most notable low being the two different disasters that occurred at Ibrox Stadium in 1902 and 1971.

It’s unfair to talk about Rangers’s success over the years without mentioning the financial difficulty that the club got itself into after the turn of the millennium. The Rangers Football Club PLC went into liquidation at the end of the 2012 season and the club as a whole was evicted from the Scottish top-flight. The problems came out of the fact that Rangers had not been paying suitable amounts of tax or national insurance to HMRC, resulting in the club essentially going bust. They were allowed to re-enter the Scottish Football League in the fourth-tier of the pyramid, having to make their way back up through the divisions as best they could. The decision to allow Rangers to keep their trophy haul was a somewhat controversial one, with other clubs that had gone into liquidation in the past having titles stripped from them.

If the 83,500 record attendance at Celtic Park is impressive then it’s nothing compared to the 118,567 that turned up to watch the Old Firm game in 1939 and it’s positively dwarfed by the 143,570 that turned up to watch Rangers play Hibernian in 1948. It’s not the only record associated with the club. In 1961 Rangers became the first British side to reach the final of a UEFA tournament when they made it all the way to the last match of the European Cup Winners' Cup only to miss out. They missed out again six years later before finally winning the trophy in 1972. The fact that they missed out on the Cup Winner’s Cup in 1967 was made all the more painful because Celtic won their only European Cup in the same year. The successes and failures of the two clubs on the pitch will always play second-fiddle to the religiously themed rivalry off it, however.

Queen’s Park - Hampden Park (2.44 Miles to George Square)

No mention of Queen’s Park is complete without a reference to Queen’s Park. Formed in 1867, the club’s motto is Ludere Causa Ludendi, which translates as 'To play for the sake of playing'. It's an apt one, considering that Queen’s Park is the only amateur club that plays in the Scottish Professional Football League. If you exclude English and Welsh clubs then Queen’s Park is the oldest football club in the world, with the club’s age part of the reason that they are the only Scottish side to have played in the FA Cup final. This happened in 1884 and 1885, back when the rules of the competition hadn’t really been formalised and such a thing could be allowed to happen.

Despite their last victory in the Scottish Cup coming in 1893, Queen’s Park have won the trophy more times than any other side apart from Celtic and Rangers. The club took it’s name from the Queen's Park Recreation Ground where they initially played their games. It wasn’t an enclosed ground, however, so they moved to a new location in 1873 that was enclosed and had the name Hampden Park. They had to leave the venue 1883 due to the construction of a railway, but a new Hampden Park was opened in 1884 and they moved in there instead. It wasn’t as impressive as the newly opened Celtic Park or Ibrox Stadium, though, so another Hampden Park was built in 1903.

The third Hampden Park certainly was more impressive and the Scottish Football Association quickly made it their home. Until 1950, when the Maracanã was built in Brazil, Hampden Park was the biggest football stadium anywhere in the world. The record attendance at the ground was set in 1937 when 149,547 people turned up to watch Scotland host England. Nowadays it is the home of the Scottish national side, but Queen’s Park still play their football in the stadium. The reason the club is so deserving of a mention when discussing football in Glasgow is not because of any rivalry between Queen’s Park and either of Rangers or Celtic - there isn’t one - but because the current capacity of Hampden Park is 51,866 and Queen’s Park’s average attendance is…750.