BOBBY’s Top Ten Classic Old Firm Encounters
PLUS: Selected Match Odds

After a long absence the Old Firm re-engage this weekend in what is sure to be a lively affair at Hampden Park as they contest the Scottish League Cup semi-final.

To whet the appetite BOBBY recalls ten classic Old Firm derbies from living memory;

CELTIC 6-2 RANGERS, 2000/01

It didn’t take long for new boss Martin O’Neill to ingratiate himself with the Celtic support when, in August of his first season in charge, he patrolled the touchline for this hammering of Rangers. Even by the standards of Old Firm matches, this one got off to an astonishing start as after only 11 minutes The Bhoys were 3-0 up, with Chris Sutton grabbing the first after just 51 seconds. For Celtic fans the joy was unbridled as their side kept up their 100% league record.

This game marked the start of a Parkhead revival that brought the hoops treble glory in 2000/01 and an end to the near total dominance by Rangers that had lasted a decade.

CELTIC 0-3 RANGERS, 1998/99

This was an historic win for Rangers as they clinched the league title at Parkhead for the first and so far only time ever, winning back the SPL trophy they’d relinquished the previous season (when they were stopped from winning ten in a row). Neil McCann bagged a brace and Jorg Albertz converted a penalty as the Gers also recorded a 100th league win over their great rivals.

Sadly, the game was marred when referee Hugh Dallas was left bleeding after being hit on the head by a coin thrown from the crowd. Another Celtic supporter attempted to attack the official – who in a predictably feisty encounter had ordered off Celtic’s Stephane Mahe and Vidar Riseth plus Rangers’ Rod Wallace – but he was restrained by stewards and policemen.

Dick Advocaat’s team went on to rub salt into Celtic wounds at Hampden with a 1-0 Scottish Cup final win that sealed a treble of trophies in the Dutchman’s first season.

CELTIC 5-1 RANGERS, 1998/99

Celtic had won the previous season’s SPL to end Rangers’ run of nine-in-a-row, but title-winning boss Wim Jansen had moved on and now the side managed by Jozef Vengloš were trailing Rangers by 10 points going into this November fixture.

One of the last Old Firm games to kick off at 3pm on a Saturday, Celtic romped to victory with a brace each from Henrik Larsson and the outstanding Lubo Moravcik, before young Mark Burchill put the icing on a very sweet cake in the last minute.

Ray Wilkins celebrates his great strike

RANGERS 5-1 CELTIC, 1988/89

Graeme Souness’ Rangers side served notice that they were Scottish football’s new top dogs as the Gers recorded their biggest Old Firm win for 28 years when they thrashed Celtic in late August 1988. Celtic had won the double just three months earlier, but two goals from Ally McCoist, plus strikes from Kevin Drinkell, Mark Walters and a wonder-strike from Ray Wilkins knocked The Bhoys from their perch.

Rangers went on to win the title, the first of a record-equaling nine consecutive championships in an era of near total domination.  

RANGERS 2-2 CELTIC, 1987/88

The Great Storm of 1987 – the Michael Fish Storm – had just caused incredible damage across England but it would be nothing compared to what would tear through Ibrox just over 24 hours later.

Rangers’ defence of the championship hadn’t started well. After 12 matches, Graeme Souness’s side were trailing in fourth place, six points behind Hearts and  four behind Celtic. Both sides were desperate for the win and this led to a particularly high-octane opening, even by the standards of Old Firm battles.

Tensions are about to boil over at Ibrox…

After 16 minutes the Celtic striker Frank McAvennie clattered into the Rangers keeper Chris Woods. The two men went nose to nose and light slaps were exchanged. Woods took McAvennie by the throat and all hell broke loose. The keeper’s teammates Terry Butcher and Graham Roberts got involved and in the ensuing melee, Roberts crept behind Woods and punched McAvennie before scuttling off. Only Woods and McAvennie were given the red card.

The match was almost an afterthought, yet brilliant for all that. Roberts went in goal to replace Woods, and soon found himself picking the ball out twice, once from Andy Walker, a second from his own man Butcher. Ally McCoist pulled a goal back and then Butcher, who had been booked in the original fracas, picked up a second yellow of the match for a crude lunge on the Celtic keeper, Allen McKnight. In the last minute, Richard Gough scrambled an equaliser.

The match is also remembered for the crowd-baiting by both sides. Peter Grant – who had harried Butcher into his own goal – celebrated by blessing himself with glee in front of the Ibrox faithful whilst Roberts conducted a sectarian sing-song from between the sticks.

It was all too much. A fortnight later, the Procurator Fiscal charged Woods, Roberts and McAvennie with “behaviour likely to cause a breach of the peace” and Butcher’s name was soon added to the list. McAvennie was found not guilty and Roberts not proven, while Butcher and Woods were fined.

RANGERS 4-4 CELTIC, 1985/86

What a match this was as the two rivals served up a classic. Mo Johnston netted the opener for Celtic before Brian McClair quickly prodded home a second. The brakes were then applied as Celtic’s Willie McStay was then sent off after half an hour for two bookings. With 10 minutes of the half remaining, Ian Durrant and Ally McCoist set up Cammy Fraser to head Rangers back into the game. Johnston burst through for his second to make it 3-1 after the restart, but Rangers wouldn’t lay down. McCoist smashed a shot into the bottom-left corner, and Robert Fleck fired home an equaliser just before the hour. Fraser then poked home a Dave McKinnon looping header to give Rangers a 4-3 lead.

But the 10 men were not to be denied, Murdo MacLeod curling a beauty into the top-right corner from distance. It would prove a priceless point for Celtic, who at the time were in a desperate pursuit of Hearts at the top of the Premier Division table.


Celtic had won their eighth title in a row in 1973 and would win the Scottish Cup four times in five seasons from 1971, but on this occasion the Gers emerged victorious thanks to a winner from defender Tom Forsyth. Celtic failed to capitalise after taking the lead with a goal from Kenny Dalglish, Parlane equalising before half time.

The turning point came 30 seconds into the second half when the Celtic defence were caught napping, allowing Alfie Conn (who would later play for Celtic) to race through the centre to score. Celtic equalised through a Connelly penalty after Greig had dived full length to punch a Dixie Deans shot on the goal line with McCloy stranded, but Forsyth won the cup for Rangers in their centenary year nine minutes later.

A crowd of 122,714 witnessed Rangers upset the odds and take the trophy back to Ibrox. After their European Cup Winners’ Cup success a year earlier, this win was a first domestic trophy at Ibrox for seven years.


An incredible Hampden crowd of 132,870 watched Celtic clinch the Scottish treble in style. Rangers had beaten Aberdeen 6-1 in the semi finals, but were no match for a Celtic team that would go on to reach their second European Cup final a year later.

Billy McNeill’s early header set the tone and two goals on the stroke of half time killed the game. 19 year old George Connelly’s goal was memorable, dispossessing John Greig and rounding Norrie Martin easily to tap home and soon after Bobby Lennnox raced clear to finish emphatically. Stevie Chalmers scored the fourth on the break in the second half.

There was no joy for a certain Alex Ferguson, yet to be knighted and playing up front for the Gers in this final. In later years Bertie Auld was to comment that he had seen this game twice. The first was on the Celtic tactics board at Parkhead as Jock Stein explained to the team in advance what would happen and the second was on the pitch at Hampden on the day.

CELTIC 5-1 RANGERS, 1965/66

Stevie Chalmers

Played in gloomy fog, this thrashing of Rangers helped Celtic clinch the first of nine successive titles under the great Jock Stein. It all started well for the light blues when Davie Wilson put them a goal up after only 2 minutes, a lead they still held at the break.

Jock Stein’s halftime talk seemed to do the trick however; A hat-trick by Stevie Chalmers, a fine shot by Charlie Gallagher from the edge of the box and an even better one by Bobby Murdoch from all of 30 yards, made the final score 5-1, pushing Celtic two points clear of Rangers with a game in hand.

Just over 12 months later Chalmers would score an even more important goal when he grabbed the European Cup final winner against Inter.


Celtic enjoyed their biggest ever win over Rangers in the 1957 League Cup final. Incredibly, it was the first time that Celtic and Rangers had met in a major cup final for 30 years. Rangers were champions and clear favourites to lift the cup, but didn’t play like it as the Hoops ran riot on a memorably sunny day at Hampden Park.

It was only 2-0 at half-time, but “By the time we came out for the second half we had sensed that something was on,” said Celtic’s Bobby Collins. They even wrote a song to celebrate the occasion.

Amazingly, Celtic didn’t win another senior trophy again until the Scottish Cup win in 1965.



CELTIC – 1/3   DRAW – 7/2   RANGERS – 7/1

Selected Correct Score odds;

CELTIC: 1-0: 15/2, 2-0: 13/2, 3-0: 8/1, 4-0: 12/1, 5-1: 33/1

DRAW: 0-0: 14/1, 1-1: 9/1, 2-2: 20/1, 3-3: 66/1

RANGERS: 1-0: 20/1, 2-0: 50/1, 2-1: 22/1, 3-2: 66/1

BOBBY’S BET OF THE DAY: Kris Commons to score & Celtic to win: 6/4

Odds courtesy of Wiliam Hill.



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