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The Alternative Histories of Celtic and Rangers. ep1

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Simone Byrne Simone Byrne | 11:42 UK time, Monday, 2 August 2010

The Alternative Histories of Celtic and Rangers is a 4 part series which offers alternative opinion and discourse of Celtic and Rangers from Tom Devine, Graham Spiers, Ruth Wishart and Lesley Campbell. In the first episode Scotland's leading historian, Tom Devine discusses the past of these two clubs.

Tom Devine

Tom Devine

The history of Rangers and Celtic is a colourful story of passion, commitment, tribal loyalties, bigotry and success on the football field. Glasgow's giants are known world-wide for the intensity of their bitter rivalry. No football derby can equal that of the Old Firm for tension, excitement and the full-blooded enmity emanating from the packed ranks of opposing fans.

This programme narrates the development of the two teams from their very different beginnings in the late nineteenth century through to the present day. I try to separate myth from reality and in the process come up with some surprising conclusions. The story has been told warts and all. Old Firm triumphs on the football pitch are recorded but so also is the darker side of their remarkable and notorious history.

The programme sets the teams in the wider social context of Scotland and Ireland; addresses sectarianism and the links between Celtic and Irish nationalism as well as the connections between Rangers, the Masons and Orange Order; it describes the transformation of the Old Firm in more recent times and much else. Based on the views of expert historians, the programme is a rich brew which will make for compelling listening.


The Alternative Histories of Celtic and Rangers, Wednesday at 1130 on BBC Radio Scotland.

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