Glasgow Rangers: Scottish Football's Century-Old Obsession

Andrew Gill@@_andrew420Contributor IISeptember 5, 2012

Rangers draw Aberdeen's biggest crowds
Rangers draw Aberdeen's biggest crowdsGetty Images/Getty Images

Manchester United, Real Madrid and Bayern Munich all know the feeling. When you’re the biggest football club in the country, the other clubs can’t help but hate you. It’s how they express their jealousy.

In Scotland, Rangers suffer the same problem. However, in this tiny nation the level of hatred and jealousy is undeservedly ridiculous. The fatuous feelings that football fans in Scotland have about Rangers even spills out as they come together to back the national team.

Rangers players have jeered by the Tartan Army for years. Everton winger Steven Naismith took a barrage of abuse from the Hampden stands when he was a Rangers player. Funny enough, since his move to Merseyside this is no longer the case.

The Ibrox club’s summer signing, Ian Black, recently made his Scotland debut against Australia at Easter Road, Leith. As he was substituted on to the field, he was met by a chorus of boos from his so called supporters.

Many have said that this was simply Hibs fans venting their anger at a former Hearts player after their 5-1 cup final humiliation. I wonder why players in the Scotland squad who remain at Hearts managed to escape the same abuse.

While most fans in Scotland share this infatuation with their national team legend Ally McCoist's Rangers, two clubs are particularly obsessed.

At one point, Aberdeen FC was a massive football club taking on the giants of Europe while picking up league titles at home. These times are long gone, and Aberdeen’s only modern claim to fame is their rivalry with Rangers.

Aberdeen fans’ obsession with the Govan giants stems back around 30 years and it does not appear to be fading away. For three out of the last four seasons, Aberdeen’s highest home attendance has been against Rangers. In the 2008/09 season, the Rangers fixture attracted 20,441 people to Pittodrie. Only a month before, Aberdeen only lured 8,909 people in for their SPL match with Falkirk.

Aberdeen fans share this curious fascination with Rangers’ real rivals, Celtic. Despite Rangers’ relegation to the lowest tier of the Scottish Football League, Celtic fans can’t seem to stop themselves from talking about Rangers.

Whenever you flick on a Glasgow based radio football phone-in, the majority of calls you hear will be Celtic fans discussing various aspects of life at Rangers.  On their forums, they criticise and moan about Rangers. At Celtic Park, they sing about Rangers. On Twitter, they create false rumours about Rangers. The list go could go on and on forever.

Aberdeen and Celtic fans have even sponsored Rangers’ new Third Division opponents Annan’s players, thinking it might wind up the Rangers support.

The level of attention Rangers receive from all quarters of Scottish football speaks volumes of the incredible stature of the club – love them or hate them, it’s still an obsession.

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