…at least not today, Sunday, 1 Feb 2015. I was warned by fellow Glaswegian co-workers that you are NOT to, under any circumstances, wear blue or green in Glasgow today. Why? Because today was the day that the Celtics play the Rangers in the Scottish League Cup Semi-Finals. As America is gearing up for its biggest football day of the year, Scotland just wrapped up theirs. The two biggest Scottish football clubs (for you Americans out there who still don’t know even after the World Cup, “football” is soccer to the rest of the world) went head to head apparently for the first time since April 2012. Together the two teams are called “Old Firm” and the rivalry behind them is stronger than most big rivalries we know in the US.
Why? Because this is not just your regular team-pride rivalry. This rivalry is deeply rooted in history. Celtic (the green team, or “club”) representing Catholics and Rangers (the blue club) representing Protestants. Basically. Anyone with an OUNCE of world history knowledge, even ME (the most history-challenged person probably on the planet), knows something about why that would be problematic and potentially dangerous. A lot of blood has been spilled over this one main conflict. Consequently, the games in the past have erupted into pure violence, riots, storming of fields, etc. There’s clearly an unbelievable amount of tension and emotions built into this rivalry. There were already 19 arrests made today apparently because of the game.
Hence – the admonition not to wear green or blue in the streets on Sunday. I was even told to just not venture out of my flat (i.e. apartment) today, and if I do, definitely don’t go to City Centre. Wearing green or blue today in City Centre would be inviting violence, pretty much, as I understand it. Well I did venture out today, just because I have things to do, but I’m more on the west end of the city and things were quite peaceful here. No mention of the rivalry in church today – the message was actually about true service. What did I wear today? I actually wore a teal-colored sweater dress – which I feel is a happily muted medium between the two colors – but it was mostly covered up by a denim jacket and a huge grey knit scarf. I think I looked pretty neutral enough and I was fine walking all about the west end today. Not a word from anyone about what I was wearing. I was not, however, going to City Centre whatsoever. No need. Another reason not to go to City Centre today besides the possibility of violence – traffic. I’ve learned whenever there’s ANY football game going on in the city that you can’t get a taxi for HOURS!!!! Ugh. Just the worst. To my surprise, I did happen to see quite a lot of people in blue and green where I was walking – an elderly lady at church with a piercing blue scarf, a guy out running in an in-your-face blue long-sleeved workout top, etc. Hmm. Guess the rule really doesn’t apply out of City Centre.
As an American expat living here temporarily, I appreciate these nice little tips I wouldn’t otherwise know. Just thought I’d pass it along for any of my friends who ever come to visit here or any future expats moving to the area. Just remember – if you ever hear of a Celtic v. Rangers game coming up – be sure to stay away from City Centre and dress neutrally.
In any case, it looks like the Celtics won today, 2-0. They’ll go on to play Dundee United in the final of the Scottish League Cup on 15 March. Another Sunday. What will I be wearing tomorrow morning at work? A lovely neutral, non-green, non-blue something (not this beautiful marriage of professional blue and green below) and I’ll pretty much pretend like I don’t know the score. #cantwealljustgetalong #rivalriesarereal #Cheers!
UPDATE: A 10 year old boy got BOTTLED in the face??? Now that’s sickening.