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The Celtic Football Club is one of the oldest teams in the history of Scotland. They, along with the Rangers, have a long history of competitive and spirited football. They were founded at Saint Mary’s Church Hall in Calton on November 6th, 1887. The first match the played was against the team with which they would share one of the longest running and most bitter rivalries in all of football, the Glasgow Rangers. This first friendly match was won by Celtic and was played at the first Celtic Park. This match would be the first in a long line of great matches.
Celtic was able to reach the final of the Scottish Cup in their first full season in the competition. They were not able to prove victorious this time but would go on to win the Scottish Cup in 1892. They defeated Queen’s Park in the final and would move to their present stadium a few months after this. Their first league championship came the following year and the club continually becomes more and more successful.
The early 1900s were a great time for Celtic and saw them win the League Championship six times in a row from 1905 to 1910. In addition in 1907 the won the double by winning both the Scottish Championship and the Scottish Cup in the same season. This was the first time that anyone had won both of these prestigious awards at the same time. They were able to follow this up by doing the same thing in 1908. Their success continued and they were able to win the champions four times in a row from 1914 to 1917.
This early success led to the team being set up for success for years to come. The middle of the 20th century were not great times for Celtic although in 1957 they were able to retain the League cup by destroying the Rangers 7-1 in the final match. Celtic was also able to do fairly well in international play. They reached the semi final of the European Cup Winners Cup in 1964, but were not able to get any farther.
Perhaps the thing that really makes Celtic stand out from other teams is it being a part of what is called the Old Firm. The Old Firm could be the greatest rivalry in all of football. While the origin of where the name comes from is not exactly clear, the rivalry is clearly there. Much of this rivalry stems from the roots of the rivalry being more then just football. It is mixed with a series of disputes between Catholics and Protestants dating back hundreds of years. The Celtic side has come to represent the Catholic side, while the Rangers represent the protestant side. This is not exclusive, and much has been done in recent years to try to eliminate sectarianism from the football field, however it is still a large part of the match. The songs sung by each side and the flags waived tend to reflect this fact. On the Celtic side you will have the majority of flags reflecting the Irish and Catholic roots, with Scottish Union Flags and more protestant songs being sung and waived. This match comes to sum up a lot of what is true in this area and represents a match up that goes beyond more then just football.
The Old Firm aside, Celtic has done remarkable things in the Scottish Elite League. They have won the league championship and astounding 42 times. In addition to that they have claimed the Scottish Cup 34 times. They also have had some great international honours winning the European Cup once and the being a runner up once as well. One of the greatest accomplishments though is Celtic’s appearance in the final of the UEFA Cup in 2003. For a team from the Scottish Elite league to make it this far is quite an accomplishment.