Rivalries are a part of sporting history, and football is no different from it. Scotland is home to some of the oldest and most famous football clubs in the world. We all know about the Old Firm rivalry, but there’s more to Scottish football than that, and in this article, we will have a look at some of the biggest football rivalries in Scotland.
Based on history, match atmosphere, hype and fans’ opinion, here are the 10 biggest football rivalries in Scotland.
10. Queen’s Park v Rangers [Original Glasgow derby]
Queen’s Park is the oldest football club in Scotland, having been founded in 1867. With both Rangers and Queen’s Park based in Glasgow, the rivalry between them was very intense in the early years of Scottish football. This rivalry is quite unheard of now, but we have included it on our list of biggest football rivalries in Scotland, because of its historical importance.
9. Ayr United v Kilmarnock [Ayrshire Derby]
The Ayrshire derby is played between the two biggest clubs in Ayrshire; Ayr United and Kilmarnock. The first game between the two was played in 1910 and ended in an entertaining 4-4 draw. There have been 142 Ayrshire derbies in the national competitions, in which Kilmarnock have won 59 matches compared to Ayr United’s 49.
8. Aberdeen v Rangers
This is a comparatively modern rivalry which developed in the 1970s. The rivalry reached its peak during the 1980s when Aberdeen became a force in Scottish football. This rivalry turned ugly due to some horrific tackles. The first one happened in 1980 when Rangers’ Willie Johnston stamped on Aberdeen’s John McMaster’s neck at Ibrox, and the latter had to be given the kiss of life on the pitch.
That wasn’t the end of horrific tackles between these two. In 1988, Aberdeen’s Neil Simpson’s horror tackle snapped the cruciate ligament of a young Ian Durrant. The challenge was so bad that Ian Durrant sued Neil Simpson, before settling out of court for an undisclosed sum. All this makes Aberdeen vs Rangers one of the biggest rivalries in Scottish football.
7. Motherwell v Hamilton [Lanarkshire derby]
This is a relatively modern rivalry, even though the first game between the two was played in September 1888. It has definitely intensified and become more heated in recent decades. Coins and flares have been thrown between rival supporters. Fan fights in local pubs and restaurants before and after the Lanarkshire derby cause police to be deployed in large numbers during and after the matches.
6. Ross County v Inverness Caledonian Thistle [Highland derby]
This rivalry is called the Highland derby because it is based in the Scottish Highlands. The city of Inverness and the town of Dingwall, where Ross County are based, are only 23 km apart. The first match between the two was played in 1994 and was won by Inverness 3-1. The teams have played each other in 62 games, with Inverness winning 27 times, compared to Ross County’s 17 victories.