Calls for Celtic to back rivals in Europe are an insult and make absolutely no sense

By David Walton

April 27, 2022

As we prepare to face Rangers at Celtic Park on Sunday, we’ve recently been hearing plenty about how we should all be backing them in their Europa League campaign.

The Ibrox club face RB Leipzig tomorrow night in their semi-final first-leg in Germany. The game will take place less than 72 hours before the Hoops face our rivals this weekend.

And as the media continue to build up to Rangers’ European fixture, we’ve recently been hearing some nonsense about how we should be supporting our rivals in the competition.

Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images

Motherwell boss Graham Alexander is the latest. He stated that clubs should be backing Rangers because they’re making the league and the clubs up here look good. He also believes it helps attract a better quality of player [Daily Record].

Meanwhile, Keith Jackson said before Rangers faced Braga that the rest of Scottish football should be “thankful” to Rangers. That those of us not “twisted by bigotry or warped by hatred” would be backing them [Daily Record].

Can we please stop this absolute nonsense? Let’s actually deal with the facts here before we all go pledging our allegiance to our rivals ahead of Thursday night. It’s insulting to state that we should be supporting a club that has tried to degrade 9 years of constant Parkhead success. A club who’s support still can’t just accept we’re the better team.

Ange targeting early summer deals as the Celtic support prepares to party

Ange targeting early summer deals as the Celtic support prepares to party
67 Hail Hail (Youtube)

Rangers progressing in Europe does absolutely nothing for Celtic

Rangers getting to the latter stages of a European competition or making the final does nothing for Celtic. The only connotations attached to that circumstance are negative ones.

Some will throw the coefficient in our face. That supporting Rangers will help our own standing for future European competitions. That’s true to an extent, but Celtic fans would much rather back their own club in making a big impact instead. The consolation of a slightly improved European reward somewhere down the line doesn’t do anything for the support.

Why on earth should Celtic supporters wish them well? Do we gain anything by them getting to a European final and gaining more profit? Talk of it increasing the stature of the league is also extremely premature. Even still the Scottish game is looked down upon massively – just look at Lothar Matthaus’ remarks earlier this week [Scottish Sun].

Also, take a glance at some other clubs who have done well in smaller leagues around Europe. Did APOEL Nicosia bolster Cypriot football as a whole with their UCL quarter-final run in 2012? Greek football, meanwhile, is hardly up there in terms of profile despite having teams in the UCL every year.

Photo by Mark Runnacles/Getty Images

Pundits and the media down south looked down on Scottish football even back when Martin O’Neill’s team were slicing through Europe. The same goes for when Gordon Strachan and Neil Lennon were qualifying for the last-16 of the Champions League. Whenever Scottish sides get past a few rounds, it’s still looked upon as a fortuitous run. Rangers getting further won’t suddenly bring a massive wave of respect to the game up here. Nor will it have better players desperate to join. It’s just pretentious.

Rangers’ run benefits Rangers only. That’s what makes the comments of the Motherwell boss a touch bizarre. Does he really think his signing targets this summer are going to be any more high-profile because Rangers beat a few teams in the Europa League? There’s been an unrealistic romanticism attached to this run when it comes to what it does for the game up here.

Celtic would much rather Rangers lose on Thursday night and have momentum drained for Sunday. They would much rather Rangers exited to Leipzig so that we can be the sole representative in the UCL and therefore rake in more money.

Rangers being knocked out by the Germans does a lot more for Celtic than the alternative. So spare us the sanctimony. We know how things work up here.

In other news, St Mirren chairman “unhappy” with Celtic supporters’ Paisley allocation