Celtic thrash Rangers but fans accused as Old Firm returns

Hanged effigies, sectarian songs and vandalism at Parkhead as the two rivals meet up for first league clash in four years

Celtic fans at Parkhead
Celtic fans at the Old Firm derby against Rangers
(Image credit: Jeff J Mitchell / Getty)

The first Old Firm league clash since 2012 ended in acrimony as Celtic romped to a 5-1 win at Parkhead but both sets of fans were accused of overstepping the mark in one of sport's bitterest rivalries.

Celtic fans hanged blow up dolls in Rangers colours from the rafters of the stadium and unveiled offensive banners, while the travelling Rangers support sang banned sectarian songs and smashed up toilets at the ground.

On the field a hat-trick for Moussa Dembele helped condemn Rangers to their worst Old Firm defeat since 2000 as their hopes of a triumphant return to the Scottish Premiership "came crashing down around [manager] Mark Warburton's ears", says Ewan Murray of The Guardian.

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Despite only being promoted last season much is expected of Rangers this season, although Warburton has been trying to manage expectations.

"Warburton’s adage is a simple one: 'Judge us in May'," says Murray. "This is fair enough but the harsh reality is the manager will not see the end of the season with Rangers if his team continue to sleepwalk through their campaign. Patience is not a commodity associated with the Old Firm."

Another commodity in short supply at Parkhead was brotherly love, with evidence of the enmity between the two sets of supporters splashed over social media.

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"The Glasgow derby is one of the fiercest rivalries in sport and had been missing from the calendar following Rangers' liquidation in 2012, which saw them start again in Division Three," reports the Daily Mail, which explains that derby day hostility is fuelled by a "volatile mix of religion, politics and sporting history".

"Rangers has a traditionally Protestant and Unionist fanbase, while Celtic's supporters are more likely to have a Roman Catholic background and an affinity to Irish Republicanism.

"And while Police Scotland praised the supporters after the game, pictures emerged on social media of criminal and unsavoury acts."

Some Rangers fans have called for Celtic supporters to be banned from Ibrox for the return fixture later this season, reports the Scottish Daily Record.

"Fans were revulsed by the shameful acts of hanging effigies wearing Rangers scarves as well as deeply offensive banners that read 'know your place hun scum' and 'KAH' – an acroymn they claim stands for 'kill all huns' – while other messages came out in support of the IRA."

But there was "shameful behaviour from a minority of bigots, on both sides of Glasgow's footballing divide", says the Daily Mirror.

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