2013 UEFA Champions League: The Celtic Football Club
Celtic FC is the greatest football club in the history of Scotland, based out of Glasgow and part of the Old Firm with rival Rangers FC (who currently plays in Scottish 3rd Division after being liquidated in 2012). This year is Celtic’s 125th anniversary, they were founded in 1888 by a Catholic Irish Brother known as Brother Walfrid. The Celtic Football Club was founded to help end poverty in East Glasgow. The club was originally made up of mostly Irish immigrants and Scots that were also Catholic. The first match was played on May 28, 1888,” the Bhoys” (their nickname) defeated Rangers 5-2 fittingly to start one of the oldest and greatest rivalries in world football. Celtic originally wore a white shirt with a green collar and black shorts, since then they have famously worn ”the hoops” as they are called by their supporters as their first kit. The hoops are a green and white horizontal striped shirt and white shorts with black or white socks depending on the era. The original crest was a red oval with a green cross as a symbol of the irish catholic club which was eventually replaced by the circle with a four-leaf clover which is still used today. Glasgow’s Green and White won the Scottish League nine straight times between 1966 and 1974, in 1994 they ended Rangers hopes to win ten straight League Championships to keep the record at a draw between the two rival clubs.
The rivalry between Celtic and Rangers is more than just two very competitive football clubs that share the same city, it goes deeper than the sport we call soccer in America. In the 1800′s, immigrants came to Glasgow from Ireland, there was anti-Catholic and anti-Irish sentiment in Scotland. Rangers’ Protestant Unionist identity came about because of their hatred of the early success of the new club that was made up of Irish and Catholics. Religion is a huge part of the Old Firm rivalry, a catholic was not signed by Rangers until 1989. Sectarianism is the word used to describe the political rivalry between Catholics and protestants in Glasgow. Due to sectarianism’s influence on the rivalry, many have died based on what colors they wear to a football match. Today, Celtic has made efforts to eliminate racist IRA chants by supporters and reduce sectarianism involved with the club.
Location: Glasgow, Scotland
Grounds: Celtic Park, also referred to by Celtic supporters as “Paradise” or “Parkhead”
Grounds Capacity: 60, 355 (8th largest in U.K.)
2011-12 Season: First in the Clydesdale Bank Scottish Premier League
43 Scottish League Championships
35 Scottish Cups
14 Scottish League Cups
European Cup Champions 1967 (now known as UEFA Champions League)
Europa League runners up in 2003
Current Players to Know
Fraser Forster, 24, goalkeeper recently named to English national team, 90 total career clean sheets and 16 in 2012-13, recorded 13 saves in 2-1 victory over Barca on 11/7/12.
Georgios Samaras, 27, striker formerly with Manchester City, Greek international with 63 caps, 5 goals in 2012-13 UEFA CL.
Gary Hooper, 25, striker, lead Scottish Premier Leagues with 24 goals in 2011-12, 22 total goals in 31 appearances in 2012-13.
Scott Brown, 27, midfielder and captain, formerly with Hibernian, Scottish international with 22 caps, over 200 appearances with Celtic.
Victor Wanyama, 21, midfielder and center back, Kenyan international with 23 caps, wears #67 to honor European Cup Winners of 1967.
Kris Commons, 29, midfielder, Scottish International with 11 caps.
Tony Watt, 19, striker, scored game winning goal in 2-1 victory over Barcelona on 11/7/12
Past Players to Know
Billy McNeil, defender, and captain of “Lisbon Lions”. Won 9 Scottish League Titles, 7 Scottish Cups, and 6 Scottish League Cups. Made 790 appearances for Celtic from 19 and was never substituted from 1957-75, and earned 29 caps for Scotland. Managed Celtic from 1978-83 and 1987-91, also managed at Manchester City, Aston Villa, and Aberdeen.
Jimmy Johnstone, played outside right, and was a member of “Lisbon Lions” (the team that won the then European Cup for Celtic in 1967). Won 9 Scottish League titles, 4 Scottish Cups, and 5 Scottish League Cups. Scored 82 goals and made 308 appearances in his league career and over 500 total appearances for Celtic from 1961-1975. Also made 10 appearances for the San Jose Earthquakes in 1975.
Ronnie Simpson, goalkeeper, and was a member of “Lisbon Lions”. Won 4 Scottish League Titles, 1 Scottish Cup, and 3 Scottish League Cups. He made 118 appearances for Celtic late in his career from 1964-70 after making almost 400 total appearances with Queens Park, Third Lanark, Newcastle United, and Hibs. He also won 5 caps for Scotland.
Kenny Dalglish, striker, Won 4 Scottish League Titles, 4 Scottish Cups, and 1 Scottish League Cup. Made 320 appearances and scored 167 goals for Celtic. Also played for Liverpool where he made over 300 appearances and scored over a 100 goals. He earned 102 caps and scored 30 goals for Scotland. He managed at Liverpool from 1985 to 1991 (he managed Liverpool at Hillsborough Disaster) and 2011 leading the team to a FA Cup victory, also managed at Blackburn and Newcastle United.
Henrik Larsson, striker, He won 4 Scottish League Titles, 2 Scottish Cups, and 2 Scottish League Cups. He scored 242 goals in 315 matches for the bhoys from 1997-2004. Before Celtic, he played for Hogaborgs BK, Helsingborgs IF, and Feyenoord for a combined 9 years and scored 99 goals in just over 200 appearances. From 2004-06, played for Barcelona, made 58 appearances and scored 19 goals in all competitions. Returned to Helsingborgs IF to finish career, made 84 appearances and scored 32 goals total, retired in 2009. He won 106 caps for Sweden and scored 37 goals.
Juventus vs Celtic FC
First Leg: February 12, 2013
Celtic Park, Glasgow – 2:45 ET
Second Leg: March 6, 2013
Juventus Stadium, Turin – 2:45 ET