The ‘Old Firm Derby’ is a match which is looked to as one of Europe’s biggest games. Despite the lower reputation of the SPL, the intense rivalry between Celtic and Rangers has always been clear. The game between Glasgow’s two biggest sides encompasses more than just football – it traditionally involves religion too, in a football match between the Catholics of the Hoops and the Protestants of the Gers.
Whilst a large amount of players and supporters probably don’t care about the religious element of the ‘Old Firm Derby’, it certainly adds fuel to the game – it creates a division between the Glaswegians – and entertainment for the neutral.
Both sides have had some great players over the years, from Champions League winners to current respected managers. Some passionate fans may repulse the idea… but if we were to focus on football, not rivalry or religion, which players would make the best ever 21st century Glasgow XI? We’ve added a bench in too.
GK) Stefan Klos
The former Champions League-winning, Borussia Dortmund goalkeeper was excellent for Rangers. Image Source: Daily Record
LB) Giovanni van Bronckhorst
It will be tough to find a better LB in SPL history than this man. Image Source: Football Whispers
CB) Virgil van Dijk
The former Celtic man is likely to soon be playing at one of the Premier League's giants. Image Source: Alchetron
CB) Frank De Boer
A third Dutchman to the defence. Part of the famous Ajax Champions League side. Image Source: TheScottishSun
RB) Alan Hutton
Despite not reaching his maximum potential in England, Hutton was brilliant for Rangers.
Image Source: Rangers.co.uk
CDM) Mikel Arteta
The Spanish man can keep things ticking in the midfield. Image Source: STV.tv
RCM) Stiliyan Petrov
Plenty of goals from midfield for this man. Image Source: stv.tv
LCM) Shunsuke Nakamura
Set pieces are decided. Image Source: Zimbio
CAM) Ronald De Boer
Joining his twin in the starting XI. 2x Dutch footballer of the year. Image Source: Talksport
ST) John Hartson
The Welsh targetman is always amongst the goals. Image Source: mnn2s
ST) Henrik Larsson
The UEFA Cup/Europa league all-time topscorer. Celtic's best forward of the 21st century. Image Source: Goal
SUB 1) Artur Boruc
'The Holy Goalie'. Image Source: Przeglad Sportowy
SUB 2) Kolo Toure
Still dominating at 35. Image Source: TheScottishSun
SUB 3) Nacho Novo
Not just in for his brilliant name. The Spanish man was class for Rangers - part of their famous UEFA Cup run. Image Source: STV.TV
SUB 4) Kris Boyd
Scored for fun in the SPL. He is the league's all-time top scorer. Image Source: Daily Record
SUB 5) Scott Brown
A spot on the bench for the current Celtic captain highlights the quality in the XI. Image Source: Twitter
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Of course, some players who would be definite selections have narrowly missed out based on the period in which they played for Celtic or Rangers. Players like Ally McCoist, Brian Laudrup and Kenny Dalglish were all excellent, but did not play in the 21st century.
Regardless, the 21st century XI has no shortage of talent. Whilst there’s plenty of debate over whether Celtic could compete in the Premier League, the 21st century team of both Glasgow sides could definitely hold their own in England. Should the Old Firm sides have combined their two great teams to make one? They would have had to put their religious views aside but the financial rewards would have been worth it. What a team it would have been, too.