The Old Firm in the seventies was a different animal.
While many of the Celtic and Rangers rivalries, emotions and reasons for being remain there is a very big difference in what is left today.
This video of a documentary from 1974 offers an insight into the differences. It’s not only an insight into the old football rivalry but also a looking glass on a city going through some monumental changes.
At the time Glasgow was going through a metamorphosis from traditional working class industries into the service based economy so prevalent now. The visible scars on the cityscape at the time illustrate the difficulties the unemployment ravaged citizens had to endure.
There is plenty about the documentary and the rivalry of the Old Firm in the seventies to make even the most ardent of antagonists grimace. Much of the rivalry that exemplified the social division of the time has a hangover that continues to this day but for the most part it illustrates how much modern day Scotland has moved on. It seems right to focus on the positives rather than the negatives.
The fitba offered an outlet, an escape from the harsh realities of 1970’s life in Britain. Glasgow stood unique as the only city to have two clubs winning a major European trophy within five years. Even today it’s hard to imagine many cities in Europe managing this feat. Outside of Madrid, Milan and perhaps, now, Manchester and London, where else could emulate this?
There is much for Glasgow to be proud of. The legacy of having two massive clubs in what is a relatively small city who competed with the best the world had to offer for one. They were a forerunner of the success enjoyed by Aberdeen and Dundee Utd in the eighties and without them Scottish football may never have got close to the great heydays of those eras.
It may be a long time before any Scottish club has anything approaching the success achieved back in the day, again. What’s gone before should be cherished and if you have forty minutes to spare today you should take the chance to watch this documentary.