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What makes a footballing rivalry?

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Jim Spence | 16:55 UK time, Friday, 16 September 2011

A Dundee United-supporting mate of mine sends Dundee Football Club a remembrance card every September, to remind them of a famous date for United fans of a certain vintage.

The card celebrates United's 5-0 win at Dens Park against Dundee FC, on 11 September 1965, a game referred to in song by United fans, as the "Dens Park Massacre of 65".

For obvious reasons I won't divulge his identity.

But, does his faithful posting of the card every year make him a sad Tangerine basket case, or should we see his behaviour as a celebration of the kind of humorous and harmless rivalry which football fans often indulge in?

Rangers' Maurice Edu and Celtic's Beram Kayal battle for possession during one of last season's Old Firm matches

Rangers' Maurice Edu and Celtic's Beram Kayal battle for possession during one of last season's Old Firm matches Pic: SNS

What prompted me to mention this is the fact that I've just bumped into him in the city centre, where he reminded me with some enthusiasm of his annual bizarre behaviour, and the other factor is Billy Brown's appointment as assistant manager at Hibernian.

Billy is a great and knowledgeable football man, but what kind of reception will he get from the Easter Road faithful after his years of service to their rivals Hearts.

Hopefully it will be a reception based on the strengths which he will undoubtedly add to their backroom staff.

But with football fans you never know.

Just what is it that makes football rivalry so intense among fans?

In some cases, such as the Old Firm, there are obvious historical differences between the two sets of supporters.

In other cases though it is much harder to explain the rivalry which often sees otherwise intelligent human beings show an almost pathological dislike of their rivals.

So what is it that divides otherwise sane and rational men and women when it comes to football and should we laud it or loathe it ?

From the Old Firm, to the Great Divide's of Dundee and Edinburgh; from the rivalry of Raith Rovers and Dunfermline, to the simmering antipathy between St Mirren and Morton, and right down even into the junior ranks, what is that supporting a football club does to affect the normal behaviour of otherwise rational folk?

Answers on a postcard please.


  • Comment number 1.


    Perhaps they all have empty lives?

  • Comment number 2.

    To be honest, if there was no rivalry in football,there would be no football, what's the point if there are no bragging rights available? To me, that's the essence of the game, the right to say that your team, be it Motherwell, Falkirk, Celtic, Rangers or Montrose have a good footballing side winning matches and trophieS, this is what the game feeds on, success is at the end if the day, what every single team plays for, what every fan wants for their team, if it comes at the expense of your nearest rival then all the better. That though is where it needs to stop, the bullet posting nutters of the world really ought to be locked up. I have one opinion really about the sad nature of the bitter rivalry, in particular about Celtic and Rangers fans, either we are all t*ssers, idiots, and numerous other expletives or none of us are?? I know which camp I want to be in. We (Celtic fans) call them every name under the sun and vice versa, come on, we can't all be, can we?? (apologies to fans of all other Scottish teams, I know we barge in to every conversation/blog going but sometimes, we actually have something worth saying). Rangers v Celtic Sun @ Ibrox, I think this will be a close game, a couple of goals each half but I see celtic just edging it, 2-3 (if only Neil Lennon will play Commons and Samaras puts the petted lip away should we get a penalty).

  • Comment number 3.

    #1 , Are you on Planet Zog ?

    Jim, At my age I had hoped that the sectarian nonsense had gone away. I am a Hibs fan because I grew up at the top of Easter Road. My entire family, and it is large, are Celtic fans. My Uncle played in goal for Celtic in the fifties. He kept out Hibs in the Coronation Cup !

    The OF aside, and that will never change, rivalry is alive and kicking. The crowd at the recent St. Mirren - Morton cup tie says it all.

    Billy Brown at Hibs ? I can go back to the late, great Gordon Smith. A hero for both sides. Older fans will sit back and see what happens. Younger website heroes will be screaming from the rooftops !

    My Grandad, long dead, was a totally Jambo. I happily took him to Tynie in his failing years. Never shouted though !

    Rivarly can fuel our game. With the exception of the OF, a lost case in my view, there are great local tussles out there that should encourage us all.

    Healthy rivalry will bring in fans. Naked hatred should be condemned to history.

  • Comment number 4.

    England v Scotland (the auld enemy).....

    Pity there is such a gignatic gap between them now !!

    Perhaps Wales v Scotland is more appropriate for a 'celtic' as they are both minnows

    England v Brazil , Argentina, Germany,Italy, France (all world cup winners) is more of a rivalry now !

  • Comment number 5.

    England v Scotland (auld enemy) used to be a good rivalry in the 1970's

    Not anymore though as the gap is now gigantic

    Perhaps Scotland v Wales or N Ireland is more appropriate as they are all minnows

    Englands rivals are Germany,Brazil,France,Italy,Argentina who are all World Cup Winners

  • Comment number 6.

    Sion v Celtic ..... seems a good rivalry now !

    Two 'baldyhibby's' fighting over a comb ?

  • Comment number 7.

    #6 ha ha, love that, love to have seen Fergus McCann v Constantin

  • Comment number 8.

    Stepping over Tom's drooling figure in the gutter, I'd have to say that the rivalry in some of the South American teams far surpasses anything we see in Europe. A truly terrifying spectacle. Without the rivalry and competition, it wouldn't be sport, it would be a pastime. Thankfully money hasn't driven the passion and edge from the game (yet).

  • Comment number 9.

    Scottish and English football have different rivalries there is the Hibs -Hearts ,Dundee Dundee United where family members support both teams and there is the religious rivalry. I think the religious rivalry is deep rooted and hatred is bred into you as a kid from one generation to the next .This is why the OF are hated so much by the rest of Scottish football fans as the rivalry is not about football .What rivalry are we talking about ? If you support the OF this weekend how many wives are going to get beaten up after the game is this part of the your rivalry.How many women are dreading this weekend in Glasgow ,not football

  • Comment number 10.

    Ah, the same guy pops up with the same impassioned blinding prejudices. While England's finest players (and there is a potentially interesting debate as to who they might be) are of a mentionable standard higher than most of the players Scotland can field, they too are going through a transition right now. Capello is rightly trying a lot of new players and I think it would be presumptious to say for certain that the gap between Scotland and England is as great as it was even 6 months ago. I will give you, however that I would still believe England to be overwhelming favourites. Just not in the way that many England fans believe they are for every single game. Which brings me to your other point. England vs Brazil great rivalry?! Brazil do not consider England as great rivals. Ask any Brazilian to name you some of the England players. I am willing to bet you they can only name three; Rooney, David Beckham, and Seaman. The English media try to perpetuate rivalries with teams that beat them and hammer on about refereeing decisions, their coach or their goalkeeper. Clearly the rest of the Home Nations could not realistically cover each team that defeated them, but again it is an indication of some of the arrogance that goes with the "big team". May I venture the suggestion that this is why England (former world champions) consistently underperform against those teams?

  • Comment number 11.

    #10 England are not arrogant ....we have won a world cup.Admittedly we have not won it since but neither have France

    We are ranked 4th by FIFA wheras Scotland are ranked 57th .......These are FIFA rankings based upon performances

    Scotland have not qualified for a tournmament since 1998 and the SPL teams are minnows in Europe.1967 and 1972 are decades ago

    Englands rivals are the major teams ..... not the minnows and that includes Scotland who have not had a decent team since the 70's

    These are all facts ....' ... not blind prejudices .... ' as you suggest

    You may think that you are our rivals ..... we do not you are not in the same class now

  • Comment number 12.

    Domestic violence 'spikes' occur on bank holidays and X-mas. We should maybe ban these as well. Liverpool v Man U and some international matches have higher rates of domestic incidents.

    If you believe that domestic violence is the preserve of bad tempered OF fans then you are sadly mistaken.

    People who smack their partners tend not to need much of an excuse beyond being pished low life's

    They are your opinions about who your rivals are. This is a fact. They are not facts any Brazilian, Argentinian or German would recognise!

    You forgot to mention Uruguay. They have won more WC's than you!! France also won a Euro Championship. Like Italy and Germany they are proper major teams not so nearly-ran champs on the back of the tabloids.

    Keep going with the meth and anything is true! Bit early in the day for that, though if it helps your arrogance. Mind you that's just my opinion...

  • Comment number 13.

    Tom I read all of your posts. Just to be sure you were actually one-sided and not just someone used to incite discussion. You use the same statistics and the same facts to bang on about the same things over and over again. "spl minnows" you have written this in at least 5 different posts. At least use a different word to illustrate your limited viewpoint. Buy a Thesaurus.

    If the Fifa rankings are so indicative of a teams quality am I to assume you agree 100% that Norway and Greece are far better teams than France or Paraguay? Or that Uruguay are better than Brazil? The rankings are based on performances in which many of those teams had different coaches and up to a 70% squad turnover since remotely relevant recent counting.

    I too can be selective in the use of timely reminders. How many goals do England score when Rooney is not playing? Are Emilie Heskey and Peter Crouch world-class footballers? How many easy chances has Frank Lampard missed? How many Englishmen does it take to lose a penalty shoot-out to a competitive opponent?

    There is no question of the gap in the ability between the Scottish National Team and the English and even less in the difference between the leagues. Look at what England can pay their national coach and then google Levein's wage. Or McLeish or Walter Smith's previous. Understand resources? Then you also understand no comparison can be drawn.

    Scotland have no world class players at the moment and have not done for a while. In my OPINION. However I do believe that bearing that in mind they infrequently over-achieve and if you can stand to lose and don't fancy yourself as "world-beaters" they can be a team worth following if for no other reason than to never be bitterly disappointed. See where I'm going with this?

    "Englands rivals are the major teams" "Decent team since the 70's". Opinions not facts. Browse a dictionary.

    Rivalry is not just about equality in resources or ability. - Definition - Fact.

    I think you are my rival. And not because you are in the same class.

  • Comment number 14.

    I don't think domestic violence is the preserve of the OF trying to make a point that all rivalries are not the same .I will give you another example Scotland will be playing England at the rugby world cup how many Scottish and English who don't know the rules of rugby will watch the game you will watch because its our nation playing against the old enemy its tribe against tribe

  • Comment number 15.

    tomsalford. i know you only come on these blogs to wind up us scots. but to be honest we are not that interested in what you say. we are a nation one tenth of the size of england. we should not be as good as england. to be honest making comparisons between england and scotland historically can only make a mockery of england. yes our national team and domestic game has got into a mess but with luck the bubble we have lived in where we try to compare ourselves with england will burst.

    it certainly will if rangers go bust. potentially no OF matches would be the biggest shock to ever hit scottish football, we allmost need it to wake up and take action. Celtic would be hit the hardest of the other clubs and would soon become poor too as they would lose by far far the most lucrative fixtures of the season overnight, the abundance of which is so high. suddenly what is often 6 vastly more lucrative fixtures than any other in the league would go. maybe implosion will be a good thing. we have brought it on ourselves by our own greed anyway. rangers will in any event still exist in some form .

    I despise the religious element in scottish football and it is not just an OF thing. i wish so much that more was done to stamp this out. i wish rangers Celtic and all other clubs would come out and agressively regenct any notion of an associaiton between football and religion. besides the 50 odd thousand at ibrox on sunday will hardly be at church!! rivalry great though, it should solely be a local rivalry though, like all othe rivalries. not in any way a rivalry across rligious divisions in scotland and northern ireland. its disgusting. why are union and rupublican flags not banned?? this is politically and rligiously motivated. there is no place for it.

    i love local derbies. i long to see more in scottish football again. having the dundee and fife derbies on a regular basis can only help scottish football? but our tiny leagues make it hard for these teams to remain in the same teir. i'd like to see a greater chance of a more diverse range of derbies via some means, and to be hones a reduciton in the seclect few between the elite. change the whole focus and ethos of scottish football

    PS tomsalford. England won the world cup longer ago than scottish teams winning european trophies if you're making that comment. it was at home on a ball that didn't cross the line. they have failed to make another major final at any other point. internationally Brazil, Germany, Argentina, Italy, Uraguay, France, Spain and even the netherlands have greater international pedigree and respect. all countries love beating england because of their fans arrogance in thinking they are the worlds best. it's great that you give us an auld enemy that everyone hates.

  • Comment number 16.

    @4&5, tomslaford wrote:
    You do make me laugh with typical English self importance .
    Ask any German and thier rivals are the Dutch . For Spain its Portugal . Italy - France . Brazil its Artgentina . None of these seem to consider England a great rival or even a rival . Oh to be misled by a league full of everyone bar the English and a media who fail to recognise mediocrity as such and call it greatness . The golden generation won the same amount of world cups as Scotland or even Iceland or Peru .

    Back to the post rivalry is important to games , wether its a club with the same town or area , or the one challenging for trophies with yours , or the team that got a "suspect" result that needs to avenged every time you play them .

  • Comment number 17.

    #6, tomslaver,

    I can confirm I am a Hibs fan who is follically challenged. I am quite shocked that you have managed to deduce this fact. It implies an understanding of the English language that, frankly, I thought was beyond you.

    Speaking for myself, I assume that your name is Tom, you certainly slaver. Repeatedly !

    #9, I do agree with your main point. But perhaps you overstate the case re. domestic abuse. There may indeed be a spike in reports after OF games. I don't know.

    I agree with Rob04 @ #12. If you are inclined to clout the wife I really do not see that a football match is the root cause. Such people would do it anyway. That is a problem for society.

  • Comment number 18.

    Fair enough: all rivalries are not the same. Jim cites 'historical differences' as the basis for the rivalry but its individuals who choose their alliegances and how they express these. I've plenty of Rangers and Celtic supporting pals who just focus on the football and not the cultures. The nutters on both sides however, seem to define us all.

    And it seems that a well known Scottish tabloid can stoke a rivalry that doesn't need more of this attention

  • Comment number 19.

    There is a 'spike' with the OF game but one problem is stupid sensationalist lazy journalism and people not understanding numbers. For example, Reporting Scotland report in % increase (i.e. 75% up on the average) but don't tell you that it is a relatively small base (e.g. 36 cases normally rising by another 20 or so). In other words, people focus on the headline % increase and not the actual number of cases.

    An English academic after the 'shame' OF game commented that the problems are miniscule compared to the aftermath of Liverpool v Man U and looking at the figures he presented at the time, he was correct.

  • Comment number 20.

    15 - The problem is teams like Dundee have been run by cowboy directors for the last 30 years and until they sort themselves out they deserve to be in the 1st division. A league of 16 will result in so many dead games mid season and as last seasons crowds in the Dunfermline v Raith games last season show fans will support the big games when there is something to play for.

    unfortunately for the decent old firm fans (they do make up the majority of the supporters who go to games) these teams are latched on to by those at the lower end of society in Scotland. If you watched the scheme which was filmed in Kilmarnock how many old firm shirts did you see and how many Kilmarnock shirts? These people who probably never attend a game then give these clubs a bad name, you know the sort who wear a Celtic or Rangers shirt 365 days of the year and will be tanked up on drink tomorrow causing havoc in towns all over Scotland tomorrow.

  • Comment number 21.


    Football, indeed sport in general would be nothing without it.

    We support teams for many reasons but very high is the reason of rivalry.

    As a Killie fan don`t think for one second I don`t glance at the Ayr Utd result. There have been many dark days when the only solace I have found on a Saturday is the fact "they" may have lost worse than "us". Its not nasty, or vindictive, just the normal human trait of knowing that your closest "enemy" has suffered a fate worse than yours.

    I was really fortunate as a wee lad to have had one grandad take me to Somerset Park one week end, the other Grandad to Rugby Park... however Kilmarnock was my first Game (5-2 beating Morton 8th Sept `69 - God bless Eddie Morrison by the way) I don`t hate Ayr United, I just don`t them to do too well or ever better then us.

    In the dark days when Killie were in the 2nd Division, and when Ally McLeod was doing a great job at Ayr, I still remember the stick coming from Ayr Fans. I still remember listening to the to the "World Service" when in Australia in 1992 (I think) Ayr Gubbed us 4-1 on the New Years day Game - Being so far away it did not nurse the pain of that feeling - Why just losing to them !!!

    Conversley, the real joy of seenig Ian Fallis score 4 (yes Four !) in a 6-1 thumping, us winning the Cup in `97 along with hearing of Rangers beating them 7-0 in a Scottish Cup Semi-Final did bring supreme joy (and relief), as only footaball can. Is this evil - not really - its just being passionate and protective about your team.

    By the way "nice" to hear from "Tomsalord" again.... BORING BLAH...BLAH....... BLAY.....

  • Comment number 22.


    your comment about pointless games is fair but then playing a team for the 4th time that season can also seem pointless. all i know is there is no perfect solution. hundreds of thousands of fans are no longer attending our games who used to. i just think we need a wholesale change in ethos whatever we do. i also am maybe very hung up on the norway example. it proves their system is working for them. it is an effective system.

    there are so many factors to consider but in the context of tis blog might 4 derbies a season simply be de valuing them?? maybe when you only get two a season there is more incentive to go whether it be a crunch relegation game or something or not.

    do we want to see a more sporting system? have we not simply had enough of the monotony of what we have? does a reduced size of leaue actually stifle competition rather than generate it due to fear of losing?

  • Comment number 23.

    Most big rivalries have nothing to do with football.
    Rangers, Celtic has more to do with religion and Real Madrid, Bacelona dates back to the civil war and how Franco supported Madrid in the aftermath.
    There ar a number of other big rivalries that have more to do with gulf between the working class and the richer end of the town or city.

    Having spent some time traveling, it appears that every country has a downer on it's nieghbours. This is often worse when the nieghbour is much larger than you are.

    It was normal to hate the Germans after the war but there was always a special hatred for the French. Having a farther who came to England after the war, our house or nieghbourhood never had any negative feelings toward Scotland and we always supported them when we (England) were not playing. After moving noth of the border I found out that the feeling was not recipricated.

    The anti English feeling seems to go back to Bonny Prince Charlie, nothing to do do with football again. It just seems that Desmond Morris may have been right when the tribalism in us all gets hijacked by the biased feelings we all feel to OUR own special team(s).

    This is all OK as long as it is not taken too far. The problem is that for a few people their local football team is all that they have.

  • Comment number 24.

    Hi Jim,
    The rivalry in Dundee has been missing for too long for the majority of fans from the city.Which team do us arabs like stuffing the most?Which game sells out and creats the best atmosphere?Which game gets the juices pumped up more than most? The answer 3 out of 3 for me is Dundee.I know i am in the majority when i state these facts.There is arabs and dee fans out there who prefer to see their rivals go as low as they can,their opinion.The great thing about the dundee derby is that its purely rivalry,then we all go back to the pub and discuss bragging rights.Tomslaford, if the english were not arrogant there would be no need for you to say so,yes?Having been to 2 world cups and visited 15 countries with Scotland and Dundee United, i am well educated on what other nationals think of your country.Ignorance is another word that springs to mind.Just the other night Napoli did not deserve to be on the same pitch as Man City if you heard the commentry.Then Napoli scored, and it was all this patronising crap about how they were a not bad team after all.We also dont need you tom to let us know the facts and figures regarding our position in world football.Scottish football badly needs a fresh injection of action not talk.We definitely will not get that from Neil Doncaster or Stweart Reagan who know bugger all about our game.We got ourselves in this mess so lets see people like walter smith, gordon strachan etc sort it out.Like our auld alliance friends did when they appointed Michel Platini etc, after france failed to qualify for italia90.Who was it who helped knock them out the qualifiers ??? Oh yes it was us.......LOL.

  • Comment number 25.

    Just settled down in front of the pc for a few mionutes after an absorbing day of football. Weren't Liverpool so clueless and toothless and isn't it the case that Man United have it wrapped up already?

  • Comment number 26.

    25.At 18:15 18th Sep 2011, Bebeseaspurt wrote:
    Welcome to a blog on SCOTTISH football .

  • Comment number 27.

    I just felt the game in Scotland to be so impoverished that I would touch on the rich vein of interest that many people share up here - the English game.
    I just wish that BBC Scotland would not insist on showing Sportscene before Match Of The Day 2; I know the support act usually come on before the headliners but I'd love to watch decent football and also get to bed at a decent time!

  • Comment number 28.

    Just ask mummy if he'll let you stay up late..

  • Comment number 29.

    I think no.28 has gender confusion! And not too hot on ellipsis...

  • Comment number 30.

    So he agreed, well done..

  • Comment number 31.

    @27.At 19:20 18th Sep 2011, Bebeseaspurt wrote:
    There are English football blogs for that , just stick to the subject matter on this one . Ellipsis , thats a big word ( well not that big but havent heard - or read it - since my school days ).

  • Comment number 32.

    Celtic v Sion ..... seems to have started rivalry !

    #13 Wales v Scotland will be the big rivalry scrapping for points in the WC 2014.Neither will qualify though!

    England has rivalries with the MAJOR teams not the MINOR teams. Celtic v Rangers okay but Celtic v Inverness CT doesnae seem right does it (get the message)

    #20 I thought it was the 'peoples team v establishment' when 'Celtic play Rangers'. Am I wrong?

    #23 Wake up ! north of the border always has had a chip on its shoulder.The problem now for these biased Scottish bloggers is that the national team has been poor for decades, and the do not like facts (rankings,qualfications for tournaments...etc).If Scotland do not qualify then they buy Englands opponents shirts.No country is as small minded as this

  • Comment number 33.

    @32.At 20:52 18th Sep 2011, tomslaford wrote:
    England has rivalries with the MAJOR teams
    As I stated before , only the English think that .
    I think its more Sion v UEFA/FIFA . But then again you are English and seem not to understand rivalries .

  • Comment number 34.

    All this user's posts have been removed.Why?

  • Comment number 35.

    Tom the team Scotland field now beat Wales by a far more convincing margin and with a more over-achieving performance than Ashley Young and whoever else barely showed up.

    I already tried to explain why the rankings do not really fairly depict the hierarchy of teams but I am not surprised you have either ignored it or not understood it.

    I would like to see England qualify out of a group that contains Italy, France and Ukraine. Or Spain. I cannot recall the last time England beat any of them.

    The last time Scotland played England they won..

    Many Celtic fans would tell you Inverness Caley are rivals ever since they humiliated them in the Cup. I stress again for your reference not all rivals must be equals.

    Your last paragraph is priceless. First of all "north of the border" is not a person. Or a collective. And certainly not one you have researched properly.There are so many people living in Scotland who are either not Scottish or not football fans I very much doubt, no I can state as a fact, that they do not all have "a chip on their shoulder" as you remark so eloquently. Most people, my father and brother for example, cheer on England in the world cup and support them wholeheartedly in Cricket. But I know that when it is not your own team they will smile and enjoy a little schadenfreude when over-hyped and overpaid underperforming "stars" are held back by an underdog. He is a Dumbarton fan and not a Celtic or Rangers fan for this very reason.

    I live in England now, and watch premiership games every week, highlights of spl and english championship games and occasionally attend Selhurst park so I like to see England play well most of the time. But it is exactly statements like your own "england have rivalries with the major teams" and incendiary comments like "minnows" that make me smirk when people like yourself, not the £85,000 a week footballers are humbled when England lose to a team you yourself tried to class beneath you. The reason so many BRITISH sportsmen or women underachieve and don't quite reach their best is the pressure, hype and expectation generated by the media and the unquestioning majority who follow it blindly.

    Why Tom, do you insist on continuing to post on these forums, particularly on topics you have displayed no ability to compete on? You repeat yourself so often I would believe you a spam bot, were it not for the remedial grammatical errors and spelling mistakes.

  • Comment number 36.


    So does that mean that, according to your logic, Dundee and Dundee Utd are no longer rivals because Dundee are in Division 1? Big gap in quality now and "them across the road" would be overwhelming favourites, for a cup tie etc, but both sets of fans would turn up and expect a good game based on their close rivalry that has existed for years - rivalry!!

    I know you're just trying to be a wind-up merchant most of the time you post on here but normally you have a better argument.

    If you're opinion is that Wales v England or Scotland V England is not a rivalry then that's your opinion and you're entitled to it... If they are drawn against each other for any future qualifiers then don't go... There'll be thousands of England fans, Scotland fans and Welsh fans happy to sing their hearts out in a game against their closest (geographical) rivals... And then banter in the pub about it afterwards!

    These games would be a much better atmosphere than any England v Uruguay match but according to you they would be your bigger rivals? Nonsense.

  • Comment number 37.

    Don't expect anything sensible in reply to your reasonable argument. Fits very neatly into the Troll category: persistent posts designed to 'flame' opinion and get a response because he wants the attention. Can't argue about anything deeper than a sentence. Only posts on Scottish football blogs. Tells you all you need to know.

  • Comment number 38.

    #33 Good point the Sion v Celtic was only banter is'nt that what rivalry is!

    #35 Impossible FIFA rank the seeds , that is why Scotland have top seeds simples

    I predict Wales to beat Scotland in the WC qualifiers,as they beat them previously 3 - 0 prior to the minnows carling cup.It is my opinion and I am entitled to it.
    I agree that Scotland beat England last time they played but over the TWO LEGS you lost.Stick to facts not blind prejudice

    England have qualified for groups with Ukraine and Italy. I cannot remember France though, but we did beat them in the WC 1998 warm up competition .Your logic is infantile England are a TOP seed and do not play TOP seeds, that is why Scotland will play Croatia,Serbia and Belgium because they are better ranked teams. FIFA make the rankings not Scotsmen or Englishmen.

    Cannot wait for the Scotland v England rugby match .......

    Fact England are the only country in the world to win the football,rugby and cricket world cup ....... Scotland hmmmmmm

  • Comment number 39.

    Very well posted blkwtchbosh, stu85 & rob04.For Tomslaford,s information i dont have a chip on my shoulder.Having been present when scotland got 6-0 in amsterdam on a wed, then dundee united get 4-0 from celtic on the sat i had to laugh.I mean it does not get any worse than that does it? I give credit where its due,even applauding stenhousemuir all the way off the park when they gubbed the arabs in the challenge cup final in the 90,s.I dont have a problem with the underdog doing well though,and from the broken record (that is the english media),that will be every team englands played since 66.BIG EGOS,BIG WAGES,BIG PREDICTIONS = individuals lacking team spirit.

  • Comment number 40.

    enough of this tit for tat nonsense now.... does anyone know what the biggest and best rivalries are in junior football. i haven't a clue to be honest.,

  • Comment number 41.

    @ tomsalford

    I see you like to quote facts, well tell me exactly when did England win the cricket world cup? If you mean the 20/20 please get a grip of your knowledge of the game.

  • Comment number 42.

    Brick walls, guys, brick walls. Tom, go home.

  • Comment number 43.

    #19 Rob04 - So the police report from the weekend is now on the BBC website.

    The number of reported domestic abuse incidents increased in the aftermath of the Old Firm game on Sunday, Strathclyde Police have said.

    The force recorded 142 cases compared to 67 on an average weekend. The average on an Old Firm weekend is 107.

    Police also said there were 18 serious assaults. The average when Rangers and Celtic play on a Sunday is 23 and eight when there is no Glasgow derby.

    Even if you think these numbers are small, 1 case is not acceptable. How much the clubs can do about this I don't know but it shows some of the social issues Scotland faces at present.

  • Comment number 44.


    Your presence here on a daily basis on a blog about Scottish football is proof that the England/Scotland rivalry is still clearly the biggest for you, or do you spend as much time commenting on blogs on Brazilian, German or Italian football?

  • Comment number 45.

    England have never won the cricket world cup, which pretty much ranks them adjacent to such cricketing luminaries as Scotland, The Netherlands, Cape Verde, The Falkland Islands and Greenland.

    Well done :-)

    England often climb the FIFA rankings during the qualification phases for tournaments, most especially during the 'year between tournaments', eg 2007, 2009, 2011, etc then fall quickly during the tournaments themselves and the immediate period afterwards. There is a reason for this - any care to guess why?

  • Comment number 46.


    Any instance of domestic abuse is to be deplored and should be punished severely by the courts, I look forward to the reports in the press as I seem to have missed all the previous ones!!
    It will be interesting to see just exactly what the link is and where the cases have taken place.

    I also find it incredible that, as reported today, the police visited 400 known abusers and warned them of the dangers of repeating their offences and were also collecting unpaid fines for some cases.
    If there are 400 known abusers why aren't they in prison and why haven't the fines been collected before now?

    I may be wrong but I sense an agenda here and remain unconvinced that OF games have such an effect but look forward to strong action by the authorities and the long sentences that presumably will follow.

    I also wonder what the link is in the "normal" 42 cases?

  • Comment number 47.

    Alcohol abuse is a major factor in the overwhelming majority of most cases of domestic abuse and serious assault. I suspect this and being in a culture where such casual violence is acceptable are the biggest contributory factors. Not a football match. And you would struggle to link domestic abuse in particular to an excess of 'rivalry'. People who hit their partners generally don't have any credible excuse. They would probably be at it on any given weekend, or moreso on bank holidays or x-mas day when an excess of alcohol is involved.

    I wish they would put these figures into context. I've seen figures in England that track higher 'spikes' to similar local rivalries (e.g. Liverpool v ManU) and their national team getting put out of tournaments.

    Is there an policy agenda to link major sporting events and violence? There undoubtedly is and if it helps better address the problems then I'm unconcerned. But lets not kid ourselves on that its a football match or result that in itself 'causes' the violence after the game.

  • Comment number 48.

    Just as an add-on, Police in Greater Manchester 'alone' logged 353 domestic incidents after England's exit to Germany in the 2010 world cup. Similar 'spikes occured after their exit in 2006.

  • Comment number 49.


  • Comment number 50.

    I believe everyone is entitled to an education so I will attempt to school you once more. Although I grow weary with suspicions of pointless futility.

    Your argument proves my very point. If England "do not play top seeds" they will continue to only play teams beneath them - therefore continuing to perpetuate the inequal system that is the rank system. Double-meaning intended. Infact I for one, and, ever so slightly perhaps, you too know that if/when England qualify from these groups they will then go on to play a more equal opponent and at this point, well you seem to know your footballing history selectively enough to know "what happens next". YET, this high seed team have got lets say for example 4 wins a couple of draws and a surprise loss under their belt and so their points for the fifa system will be considerably higher than say a team that just had 3 world cup final eight in their group. Very few teams move up or down more than a few places over the course of a couple of years.

    In other sports, Golf and Tennis for example, far more fixtures are played in a year and so rankings reflect closer the ability. The same goes for club level football with a season containing far more fixtures than fewer than 10 games over 2 years.

    The ranking system is set up as a necessity but most in the know and the sensible and educated know it is of limited value in determining a teams current form or ability.

    The only other way rankings are established are friendlies and neither Scotland or England have a performance record there fitting of their ability both in my opinion and as the logistics would suggest.

  • Comment number 51.

    The very fact that England are 4th in the Fifa rankings and yet have not been in a semi-final in a while (the last 4 teams) of either European or World tournaments is surely a contradiction obvious enough for you to spot. Although I am begining to wonder if you could find the sun with a telescope. And yes before you respond predictably I shall write your message for you "minnows, simples, scotland poor since the 70's, england won something(more) recently, Sion vs Celtic, facts".

    Please please please I implore you to look up the word fact before using it wrongly again. You decimate the average IQ on here.

    I cannot counter-your arguments with anything simpler without the use of bright sparkly colours and links you can hit that make noises so I will not be drawn on discussing, with an intellectual minnow, the questionable merits of the fifa rankings again.

    I too am looking forward to the Scotland England rugby match. I expect it will be a hard-fought contest if the fixture record is to be believed although I thoroughly expect England to win it. I believe they are favorites for world domination?

    How many South Africans does it take to win a cricket match for England? I am certain I need remind you I still support them. I just don't boast about them or use them pointlessly to fail to make an unrelated point.

    And lastly, in the spirit of harmony, Brazil may not play cricket much yet, but I'm sure we can all agree if they did, it would be the sexiest cricket in the world.

  • Comment number 52.

    @38.At 20:38 19th Sep 2011, tomslaford wrote:
    #33 Good point the Sion v Celtic was only banter is'nt that what rivalry is!
    So now youre saying Englands rivalry is against Scotland , make-up your wee mind please!!!

    @43.At 23:55 19th Sep 2011, jeanfield_swifts wrote:
    How much the clubs can do about this I don't know but it shows some of the social issues Scotland faces at present.
    Clubs really cant control what type of fan identifies with them , there are nutters everywhere supporting every team , and I tend to end up beside them on the bus . It is a said reflection on the social issues of modern society rather than just Scotland, as other posts show . The fact that the media highlights the effect on Scotland is another issue of the modern media society , a case of it happens there !!!! not here .

  • Comment number 53.

    Jim, oh dearest Jim of the wrong footballing tribe.

    Their is no rivalry between Dundee FC and Dundee United Hiberian, if it's there it's only in the mind of the tangerines. Anyone who has had the pleasure of watching the Dees, being in the South Enclosure with the best fans in the world, savouring the unique atmosphere of a swaying Dens Park will not care or wish to follow anyone else. Jim, I feel sorry for all of you who are not DEES, you are all lacking the the one thing in your life that would complete it, a visit to Dens Park, a visit to the club shop where you can learn about Billy Steele, Jim Duffy or even the mighty Claudio Cannigia. Rivalry, ok I admit it, there is nothing better than humping Utd, esp when your older brothers all support them and the youngest son the only one to see the light. :)

  • Comment number 54.

    #53 Oh Bruce Oh Bruce,
    Whaur does Jim(STILL LOOKIN FIR LUGGY) Duffer fit in there?
    If it wiz Vince Mennie & Les Barr on either side o him, eh wid ken whaur yir cumin fae!Humping united? Best fans in the world? To many carlsbergs son.P.S. Ray o sunshine in disguise ?????

  • Comment number 55.

    Post 53

    If only one of them could count pennies?

  • Comment number 56.

    But maybe not as funny as East Fife dumping the notch pa broon

  • Comment number 57.

    Jim; it's because instinctively if you support a team then you've decided for whatever reason that they are more worthy of your support over all the others. Therefore anyone who can support another team must think their choice is better than yours. When the teams play eachother it's a test of who's supporting the "best" team. Whoever wins is proven "right". The size of the win is a measure of by how much you're right. Every game is a clean slate regardless of league standing or position which is why it's so passionate.

    In terms of BIlly Brown i'd imagine most Hibbies will think like me; that after years of delusion he's finally joined the better side of Edinburgh. However, if he's a failure then we'll brand him a useless Jambo infiltrator :-)

    @11 You couldn't be more wrong, we will always be your main rivals. It doesn't matter if our team is made up of traffic cones we'll always think we're better than you and every match is a chance to prove it. Rankings mean nothing when rivally is concerned.

  • Comment number 58.

    Rivalries are all about, teams having to share the same spoils, scrapping for the same points etc. Yes there are big famous inter-city derbies which have a great rivalry, but this hides the fact that they are also scrapping after the same spoils.

    Take for example my own team Falkirk, who properly have a derby with East Stirlingshire, but can anyone say there is any great rivalry, at the Stirlingshire Cup Semi-Final match the other day a grand total of 274 bothered paying £5 pounds for the pleasure [and I understand it is not the biggest cup in the world, but ....]

    However, when Falkirk take on another club, not far away, who have roughly the same size of support, usually occupy similar league positions [bottom of SPL, top of Div 1] then the people turn out in their numbers. I am talking, of course, about the Falkirk v Dunfermline match.

    So this is what causes rivalry, two [or more] teams scrapping for the same spoils.




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