Football crazy Glasgow has no cricket pedigree

By Ashis Ray, IANS

Glasgow : Hosts to a one-day international between India and Pakistan Tuesday, Glasgow's cricketing credentials are limited.

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It is unabashedly a football centre, with the two of the most famous clubs in Scotland, indeed in Britain – Celtic and Rangers – emanating from here. They have dominated Scottish soccer as well as dividing the city's predominantly Christian population for well over a century.

They are also the two richest clubs in Scotland.

Broadly, Celtic are supported by Catholics and Rangers by non-Catholics. The former were formed in 1887 when Irish migrants settled here in search of jobs. The stated purpose was "to alleviate poverty" in a depressed part of the metropolis.

The intense rivalry between the two clubs, indeed even bad blood, has been a part of Scotland's folklore.

Until about 20 years ago, Rangers, instituted in 1872, never signed a Catholic player. At this point, Graeme Souness, a former Scottish international who had played mostly for English clubs, terminated this closed-door policy.

Celtic, in contrast, have historically been more flexible.

Between 1966 and 1974, Celtic became Scottish league champions nine times in a row. Rangers returned the compliment by doing the same from 1987 to 1997.

However, during Celtic's dizzy spell, they became in 1967 not only the first British, but first non-Latin side to win Europe's most coveted club trophy, the European Cup, from which the current Champions' League has descended.

Presently managed by Gordon Strachan, another Scotland star who played for Manchester United, Celtic are again on top, winning the Scottish Premiership League for the past two years, as well as the Scottish Cup last season.