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Dirtiest Old Firm derbies as the Glasgow giants prepare to collide

Robbie Purves | 31 December 2016

There’s no two ways about it, most Old Firm derbies are ferocious, bad-tempered affairs that remain almost unmatched in world football.

So, with the two Glasgow giants meeting this weekend, Coral football writers have picked out five of the dirtiest Old Firm derbies in the long and red card laden history of the fixture…

Rangers 2-2 Celtic (1987)

The atmosphere was described as particularly poisonous in 1987, even for an Old Firm battle.

It didn’t take long for events to turn sour, as a tussle between Celtic’s Frank McAvennie and Rangers goalkeeper Chris Woods, resulted in both being red carded after 17 minutes. Ibrox defenders Terry Butcher and Graham Roberts were also involved, with Butcher receiving a yellow for dissent – a costly mistake.

During the 33rd minute, Hoops striker Andy Walker scored to put the away side ahead, two minutes later Butcher then compounded his first-half misery by doubling the visitors’ lead with an own-goal.

Gers went down to nine men in the second-half when Butcher, who seemed to be at the centre of everything, was dismissed for a foul on Bhoys keeper Allen McKnight – further reducing Graeme Souness’ side.

Despite their disadvantage, Rangers rallied and cut the deficit in half through Ally McCoist. In the final minute in one of the most brutal Old Firm derbies, the comeback was completed by Richard Gough.

Celtic 2-0 Rangers (1991)

The game was held on St Patrick’s Day, but there was little time for festivities during this Scottish Cup quarter-final.

Four players were sent off during the derby, with seven picking up a yellow. Gerry Creaney and Dariusz Wdowczyk saw Celtic progress into the semis, but it was the red card brandishing that caught the headlines.

In fact Gers boss Souness actually apologised for his team’s “lack of discipline”. Celtic’s Peter Grant was the first to go, stupidly giving a free-kick away for a yellow then seconds later charging down the dead-ball to be given a second.

Rangers then had three men sent off. Terry Hurlock was red carded for an elbow, Mark Walters for late challenge and Mark Hateley with dissent and niggling challenges.

The game is now nicknamed the St Patrick’s Day Massacre and is one of the dirtiest Old Firm derbies ever.

Souness was subjected to so much abuse from Celtic fans, that Hoops chairman Jack McGinn waived for supporters to stop.

Hoops are odds-on at 8/11 with Coral to triumph against their rivals this weekend.

Celtic 0-3 Rangers (1999)

The fact that this was later dubbed the ‘Shame Game’ tells you a lot.

A brace by the sensational Neil McCann and a converted pen by Jorg Albertz gave the Teddy Bears a remarkable win, but was overshadowed by scenes on and off the field.

Hoops defender Stephane Mahe was the first to get his marching orders for a second yellow card after 32 minutes, with Rangers a goal up – crying as he left the pitch.

Soon the game turned into madness, as the referee was struck with a coin and pitch invaders marched onto the field.

After tangling with Vidar Riseth, Rangers striker Rod Wallace was dismissed, while Norwegian Riseth later also went for an early bath.

Gers are a generous 7/2 to beat Brendan Rodgers’ outfit on Saturday.

Celtic 1-0 Rangers (2011)

Marc Wilson’s goal and a Celtic victory was almost a subplot when compared to the antics on the field.

It was the third derby in the space of just 26 days and emotions were high. Gers had Steven Whittaker and Madjid Bougherra sent off during the match after, while the provocative Rangers forward El Hadji Diouf saw red after the encounter after an altercation with Celtic officials.

However, the real headline grabber came when Celtic boss Neil Lennon and Ibrox assistant manager Ally McCoist collided in the technical area, squaring up.

Rangers 3-2 Celtic (2012)

Reigning champions Rangers prevented the Scottish title being won on their own patch, despite a dramatic Hoops late rally. The loss that ended the visitors’ 21-game unbeaten run in the league.

With Gers on the brink of financial meltdown, it was a bad-tempered affair, as Celtic’s Cha Du-Ri was sent off after 29 minutes, while Victor Wanyama followed 12 minutes later.

The home side found themselves three goals to the good, before two late goals – the latter in stoppage time – made for a nervy finish.

Manager Lennon was also made to watch from the media room after being sent off in the second half.

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