Old Firm is one of the biggest football rivalries in the world,very few derbies can match its intensity. The hatred between the both sets of supporters for each other is outrageous. It’s impossible to think that a player would switch sides between these two. However, there are certain players who made the switch and played for both Celtic and Rangers. In this article, we will have a look at some of those players.
Here are the top 10 players who played for both Celtic and Rangers –
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10. Mark Brown
Brown was a Rangers youth product who was called up for the senior team in 1999, but he rarely got any game time and was sold to Motherwell in 2001, after just playing five matches for the club.
After spending time with Motherwell and Inverness CT, he returned to Glasgow with Celtic in 2007 to serve as a back-up goalkeeper for Artur Boruc.
As was the case at Rangers, Brown was unable to establish himself between the posts at Celtic making just 13 league appearances, though still picked up two Scottish Premier League titles and a Scottish League Cup before signing for Hibs in 2010.
9. Steven Pressley
Steven Pressley was a product of the Rangers youth system, but struggled to establish himself as a first team regular – though he did win two Scottish Premier League titles and a Scottish Cup – the centre back left in 1994 to Coventry City.
Pressley then went to Dundee United and Hearts – winning the Scottish Cup – where he became mainstays in the team. After becoming a free agent, the then 33-year old Pressley was signed by Celtic. In 2007, he was part of the Celtic side that won the Scottish Cup and became the first player to have won the trophy with three different clubs.
8. David McLean
McLean joined Celtic in 1907 and stayed there for two seasons.He played a great part in Celtic’s famous fortnight in April 1909 when they played eight games in twelve days to win the Scottish League.
He left the club in 1909 to join Preston North End and two years later joined Sheffield Wednesday,where he became a legend.
He later joined Rangers in 1918. He top scored in the Scottish league in 1918/19 with 29 goals. He thus became the first player to be outright top scorer in the top divisions in both England and Scotland.
7. George Livingstone
George Livingstone holds the unique record of being the only player to play for both sides of the Old Firm and Manchester derby. He spent one season with Celtic scoring 4 goals in 17 league appearances. He then to play in the English League in 1902.
He returned to Scotland in 1906, to play for Rangers. He played a total of 47 league games scoring 20 times before leaving for Manchester United in 1909.
6. Alfie Conn
Winger Alfie Conn was the first post-WW2 player to play for both Old Firm sides. His playing career started with Rangers in 1968. Conn made his senior debut for Rangers against Dundalk in the Fairs Cup tournament in November of the same year.
Conn was part of the team that won the European Cup Winners’ Cup in 1972 and also played in Rangers’ 3-2 Scottish Cup victory over Celtic in 1973, in which he scored his team’s second goal.
Conn’s performances attracted the interest of Tottenham, who paid a then large fee of £140,000 in 1974 to sign him. His time with Spurs lasted three years before Celtic came calling. Conn’s desire to play for Jock Stein saw him make the move to Parkhead..
He would spend two years with Celtic and won another Scottish Cup with the club, who naturally defeated Rangers 1-0 in the final. However, Conn’s switch didn’t bring a grudge from Rangers, and he was inducted to their hall of fame in 2007.
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5. Robert Campbell
Campbell Celtic career was a short 6 months spell,where he played 12 league games before being sold to rivals Rangers in January 1906.
He made his Rangers debut against Port Glasgow on 20 January 1906. He was a right back but was later converted to a striker. He spent eight years with Rangers, making 211 appearances and scored 56 goals.
He won three Scottish league championships, three Glasgow Cups, two Charity Cups and the Scottish National Exhibition Tournament in 1908 with Rangers. After his retirement he became a director of Rangers in 1926.
4. Kenny Miller
Miller is only player post-WW2 to switch between these two sides twice.Signed by Rangers in 2000 for £2m, Miller spent just over a season at Ibrox before moving to Wolves on a loan move that turned permanent.
In 2006 though, Celtic swooped as Miller was available on a free transfer, and Miller’s first goal for the club was against former employers Rangers. However, the striker never became at regular starter for Celtic and he was quickly sold to Derby.
In 2008 Miller made history when he was signed by Rangers for the second time. It was an unpopular move amongst a proportion of Rangers’ support. After spending three years with the club and winning over the hearts of the fans again, he left the club in 2011.
In 2014, he signed for Rangers for the third time and played there for four more seasons.
3. Tully Craig
Tully Craig was a Scottish footballer who is best known for his time with Rangers. He was a versatile player who could play up front, in midfield or defence.
He was born in Laurieston and was signed by Celtic from Grange Rovers in June 1919.He made his first team debut for the club in a 3-2 league win at Kilmarnock in January 1920. The left-half impressed on his debut, scoring two goals, but he was deemed to be too lightweight by Celtic manager Willie Maley and consequently spent most of his time at Parkhead in the reserves.
Maley sold Craig to Alloa Athletic in an exchange deal which saw Craig and two other Celts swapped for Willie Crilley. While Crilley would disappoint in the Hoops, Craig was a huge success at Alloa, and after only one season Rangers bought him for a fee of seven hundred and fifty pounds in 1923.
He spent 13 years at Ibrox, winning five league championships, two Scottish Cups, two Glasgow Cups and four Charity Cups, Craig retired from football in 1935.He sadly passed away in 1963.
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2. Mo Johnston
Probably the most controversial out of the list, Johnston – a devout Catholic – signed for Celtic in 1984 and was a huge success, scoring 52 in 99 league games.
After two years in France, Johnstone appeared at a press conference at Parkhead, with Celtic having reputedly agreed a £1.2m deal to bring the striker back to the club.
Due to financial complexities the deal never went through and less than a month later Johnstone signed for Rangers, whose fans seemed even more appalled at the deal than those of Celtic, with many burning scarves and handing in season tickets.
From the early 20th century onwards, Catholics had not been knowingly signed by Rangers, nor employed in other prominent roles as an ‘unwritten rule’. Johnston was “their first major Roman Catholic signing”.The move angered both Celtic and Rangers supporters. Some Rangers fans burned scarves and threatened to hand in season tickets over the signing, while Celtic fans referred to Johnston as Judas.
However, he won over a lot of Rangers fans in November 1989 when he scored an injury time winner for Rangers against former club and bitter rivals Celtic.
1. Alex Bennett
Bennett was one of the rare players to make the direct switch between these two. He first joined Celtic in May 1903 and was a regular in the side which won the League Title for four consecutive years between 1905 and 1908. In the latter two years of this streak Bennett also collected Scottish Cup winners medals.
After spending five years with Celtic, he was released from the club. He overall played 124 league games during that time and scored 47 times.
He joined Rangers as a free agent,in May 1908, and remained with the club until 1918. He won a further three League Championships while at Ibrox. Bennett was capped 11 times for Scotland, gaining three caps while at Celtic and the remaining 8 while at Rangers.
It concludes our list of players who played for both Celtic and Rangers, leave your reactions in the comments below.