I am more of a rugby person myself – not just because I find games more exciting, but because the atmosphere surrounding them is usually a lot more pleasant. Football has quite a negative stigma surrounding the atmosphere it brings and so, naturally, when I found out that I was working at the pub on the same afternoon of the Rangers v Celtic game at the weekend, I was immediately apprehensive.
Being from a blue family myself, I have always been aware of the intense rivalry between Rangers and Celtic. I read in an online article last week that Scotland hosts the world’s most anticipated derby and, so, of course, the pub was absolutely packed when I walked in for my shift at the weekend. Immediately I noticed the calm atmosphere. It was unusual to see people supporting opposite teams being so relaxed with one another during such an intense 90 minutes. As there was a ban on football colours in the pub, I think this helped keep everyone very serene.
When Rangers won, there weren’t any riots or arguing. As far as I’m aware, there wasn’t even any foul language muttered from Celtic supporters’ mouths. In fact, everyone sat and continued to enjoy their pints and I couldn’t help but feel extremely proud to see the lack of prejudice and sectarianism between the two sides.
Of course, sectarianism is always going to exist. There will never be a time when there isn’t a supporter winding up a fan of the opposite team, resulting in a barney or two. However, what I do believe is that we are well on the way to helping reduce the amount of crime and verbal abuse between football fans on derby day. Although I think it might take a while, it’s nice to finally make some progress towards peace between fans of the biggest rivalry in football.