Exclusive: ESPN, FIFA commentator Derek Rae on what German teams say about Celtic

By Euan Davidson

September 29, 2021

Commentary legend Derek Rae knows plenty about Celtic, but his bread and butter is the Bundesliga these days.

Aberdeen-born Rae is a familiar voice across generations. Formerly the BBC’s football correspondent, 1987’s British Sport Broadcaster of the Year [Boston.com] is now a commentator in Germany. He’s also called games at World Cups, in Holland, Brazil, the USA and everywhere else you can imagine.

Oh, and of course – Derek Rae is one of the voices on the FIFA franchise, which sells millions of copies per year.

67 Hail Hail were lucky enough to get an exclusive chat with Rae, who shared some expert knowledge on our European opposition. Bayer Leverkusen are full of threats, and have well-known players like Jeremie Frimpong, Patrik Schick, and Florian Wirtz.

Rae, though, believes there are positives for Celtic. The veteran broadcaster told 67 Hail Hail about what German teams think when they’re drawn against the Bhoys. Rae said [67 Hail Hail/YouTube]:

“If we’re looking for positives from a Celtic angle, the one thing that German teams do talk about, and sometimes this can be an overrated factor, but they do talk about things like the special atmosphere of Celtic Park.

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“It’s always a popular draw. Teams enjoy having that experience. They enjoy going to a place like Celtic Park. Let’s face it, you might get to do it once in your football career.

“It’s not like going to some ground where there are 7,000 people inside, and most are sort of vaguely interested but not that much.

“Celtic Park does speak for itself. But I do often feel that when they talk about that, they’re talking about that factor as being the dangerous factor, rather than the Celtic team.

“Maybe there’s something in that. But I think with the Europa League, we do see that things can be unpredictable. And you never quite know how it’s going to go.”

Derek Rae, of FIFA, Bundesliga and BBC fame, makes interesting point about Celtic Park

Should opposition fans “enjoy” Celtic Park?

With the atmosphere provided by supporters, Paradise is a real test for players. If they can handle that intensity, they’ve got something about them. We’ve seen some huge performances out of some of the footballing greats, and we’ve seen some big names wilt under the lights.

If anyone has an inside track on how German teams feel about going to play Celtic, it’s Rae. The multilingual broadcaster, adored for his attention-to-detail and research, is likely to get a read on situations that others won’t.

Photo by ANP Sport via Getty Images

But what he says is both a positive, and a bit of a worry. If teams are coming here to enjoy themselves, then that’s not ideal. Respect the atmosphere, certainly, but it should be something that instils fear.

We have picked up many a famous result at home, however. The Sheriff v Real Madrid last night [ESPN] brought some impactful results back into focus, not least Celtic’s triumph over Barcelona.

Indeed, anything can happen in European competition. Let’s hope the Paradise atmosphere can work to our advantage tomorrow night.

Read more: Celtic midfielder James McCarthy fit to face Bayer Leverkusen

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