Old Firm derby: Celtic & Rangers rivalry explained

Celtic vs Rangers is Scotland's biggest match
Celtic vs Rangers is Scotland's biggest match / Mark Runnacles / Stringer

The Old Firm derby remains one of the fiercest battles football has to offer, and while the fixture may no longer boast the star quality of years past, it's still a spectacle that every fan enjoys.

The Celtic vs Rangers rivalry stands alongside the Superclasico in Buenos Aires and Rome's Derby della Capitale in terms of mutual hatred and cultural significance. As a derby, it extends far beyond the mere boundaries of a football pitch.

The two dominant forces of Scottish football have duelled at the top for over a century, with their first meeting way back in 1890. The rivalry quickly developed into one of the world's biggest, and here's an overview of what the derby is all about.

Old Firm derby origins

This is a deeply complex rivalry that has been embedded in Scottish culture for well over a century. Celtic and Rangers are Glasgow's two biggest clubs and the most successful sides Scotland has to offer.

The hatred each set of supporters have for one another is unparalleled. This is a derby entrenched in politics, religion and sectarianism.

Traditionally, Rangers supporters align themselves as native Scots or Ulster Scots as well as Protestant and Loyalist, while Celtic fans tend to be Irish-Scots and Catholic and Republican. Rangers fans also tend to identify more as pro-British in complete contrast to their Old Firm rivals.

As for the name 'Old Firm' itself, that's believed to have been derived from a satirical cartoon in 'The Scottish Referee' sports newspaper ahead of the 1904 Scottish Cup Final between the two sides.

The cartoon depicts an elderly man with a sandwich board reading"Patronise The Old Firm: Rangers, Celtic Ltd", acknowledging the commercialisation of their high-profile meetings that attracted large crowds and fervent support.

Old Firm derby: Head-to-head record

Rangers just about have the edge head-to-head, but it's almightily tight - depicting the competitive nature of the fixture. It's rarely a dull occasion.


First match


Celtic wins

Rangers wins


Scottish League






Scottish Cup






League Cup












Old Firm derby: Most memorable matches and biggest wins

Here are three of the most memorable Old Firm derbies from over the years:

Celtic 7-1 Rangers - 19 October 1957

Not only is this the most emphatic victory in Old Firm history, but it's also the biggest margin of victory in any top-grade British cup final ever.

Celtic were utterly dominant in the 1957 Scottish League Cup final, thrashing their favoured rivals 7-1 off the back of a Billy McPhail hat-trick. The contest has been entrenched in Celtic folklore via songs and chants including “Hampden in the Sun".

Celtic 6-2 Rangers - 27 August 2000

Dick Advocaat's 'Gers headed into this Old Firm derby as champions, but Celtic, who brought well over the summer, were intent on making up the ground and they thumped their most bitter rivals 6-2 in their first meeting of the 2000/01 season.

‘The Demolition Derby’, as it would quickly be known, included one of the greatest goals ever scored in this fixture. Every Celtic fan on the planet remembers Henrik Larsson's sequence of genius.

Rangers 3-2 Celtic - 4 May 2002

A bit of Rangers joy. Scotland's two most prominent outfits competed in 117th Scottish Cup Final at Hampden Park back in May 2002.

Celtic were favoured as they were on their way to a mammoth 103-point haul in the league having lost just once, but it was Rangers who prevailed when silverware was on the line. Peter Lovenkrands, who had earlier cancelled out John Hartson's opener, struck at the death to hand the 'Gers the cup.

When are the 2022/23 Old Firm derbies?

Ange Postecoglou's Celtic set the tone for the 2022/23 season when they thumped their long-time rivals 4-0 at Celtic Park back in September. The Hoops have remained at the top of the Scottish Premiership since, and their point at Ibrox in January was hugely significant in keeping Rangers at bay.

The two sides meet one more time in the league in April, but before that they clash in the Scottish League Cup final.

A third meeting of the season came courtesy of the Scottish League Cup final as two goals from Kyogo Furuhashi helped Celtic claim the trophy with a 2-1 win.

  • 03/09/2022 - Celtic 4-0 Rangers - Scottish Premiership
  • 02/01/2023 - Rangers 2-2 Celtic - Scottish Premiership
  • 26/02/2023 - Rangers 1-2 Celtic - Scottish League Cup
  • 08/04/2023 - Celtic vs Rangers - Scottish Premiership