Crossing the Border: English Clubs in Scotland
With the departure of manager Sam Allardyce throwing the England national team into further disarray, November’s FIFA World Cup qualifier pitting the Tartan Army against the Auld Enemy seems some way off the current footballing radar. Nevertheless, fans will get a taste of a unique, border-hopping rivalry this evening, when England and Scotland go head-to-head tonight in European club competition. English title favourites Manchester City travel to Scottish kingpins Celtic as comfortable favourites, yet the Premier League’s finest have experienced mixed fortunes over the border in recent times. Here’s a few famous battles.
Rangers 2 Leeds United 1
Howard Wilkinson took his Leeds United team to Ibrox in 1992, but returned empty-handed after the Scottish champions Rangers came from behind to defeat their English counterparts. After Scotsman Gary McAllister had handed Leeds an early lead, an own goal from goalkeeper John Lukic restored parity, before Ally McCoist stabbed home from close range to settle matters. Rangers would win the second leg at Elland Road by the same score a fortnight later.
Celtic 2 Liverpool 2
Liverpool’s trip to Glasgow in September 1997 would not result in victory, yet the goals they scored that night would be worth their weight in gold. Having brushed aside League of Wales outfit Inter Cardiff at the qualifying stage, Celtic recovered from a young Michael Owen’s deft clip to lead in the second half; Jackie McNamara finishing with aplomb before Simon Donnelly converted a 74th minute penalty. However, Steve McManaman’s mazy run from his own half ensured a famous last equaliser and the Reds would ultimately advance via away goals.
Celtic 1 Blackburn Rovers 0
After Blackburn Rovers’ 1994-95 Champions League campaign ended in the horror of group stage capitulation, the Lancashire lads were back on the European stage in 2002, having won the League Cup in Cardiff months earlier. However, their Halloween trip to Celtic Park was relatively free of tricks and treats; that is, until Scandinavian wizard Henrik Larsson popped up with a rebound to win this UEFA Cup encounter. Celtic would later win the second leg 3-0, becoming the first Scottish side to oust English opposition from Europe in a decade.
Celtic 1 Manchester United 1
Celtic Park last welcomed a Manchester side for a competitive European fixture on 5th November 2008, though it was United and not their rebuilding rivals City who made journey north. With Cristiano Ronaldo in tow, United arrived in Glasgow as European Cup holders, but the first half fireworks came courtesy of Celtic’s Scott McDonald, who audaciously lobbed visiting goalkeeper Ben Foster. Ironically, the final word in this Anglo-Scottish encounter would go to Wales’ Ryan Giggs, who headed in at the back post to ensure spoils were shared.
Celtic 0 Arsenal 2
Arsenal made a rare foray across the Scottish border in 2009, as the Wenger boys attempted to qualify for the Champions League group stages. As is expected this evening, a monstrous crowd piled in to Celtic Park, yet their enthusiasm was dampened before the break when Cesc Fabregas’ powerful long-range strike cannoned cruelly off Gunners’ teammate William Gallas and into the Hoops’ net. The killer second was a tale of similar misfortune, as Gary Caldwell’s outstretched leg handed Arsenal a 2-0 advantage. And that, as they say, was that.
Hearts 0 Tottenham Hotspur 5
Edinburgh’s Tynecastle Stadium was the setting five years ago, as a rampant Tottenham Hotspur thrust a dagger through the heart of their opponents’ Europa League hopes. Dutchman Rafael van der Vaart ensured Spurs’ wait for an opener was merely a matter of minutes and by the half-hour mark, the Londoners were three goals to the good, as Jermaine Defoe and Jake Livermore joined him on the scoresheet. Livewires Gareth Bale and Aaron Lennon then added to Hearts’ misery, on a night the Scottish side will surely hope to forget.
Celtic 1 Leicester City 1
Finally, an intriguing summer showdown in the International Champions Cup saw surprise English kingpins Leicester City prevail at Celtic Park. With a pair of stepovers and fine close control, Foxes talisman Rihad Mahrez had set up his own opener, curling the ball into the Celtic net at the start of the season half. However, Eoghan O’Connell’s finish from outside the box soon soon helped the home side level, setting up a decisive penalty shoot-out. With Kasper Schmeichel saving James Forrest’s spot kick, the pre-season victory would belong to England. Now, with the spotlight of the Champions League well and truly on, can the Scots fire back, as Brendan Rodgers’ Celtic aim to get their campaign emphatically on track? AC
- Rangers vs Leeds by Darren Walsh, Action Images
- Celtic vs Liverpool by Nick Potts, Action Images
- Celtic vs Blackburn by Andrew Budd, Action Images
- Celtic vs United by Lee Smith, Action Images
- Celtic vs Arsenal by Carl Recine, Action Images
- Hearts vs Spurs by Carl Recine, Action Images
- Celtic vs Leicester by Craig Brough, Action Images/Reuters