Rangers vs Celtic takes Ally McCoist and Alan Brazil back to schoolboy days and turns their stomachs with nerves, as Scotland legends go back-and-forth over ‘special’ Old Firm derby April 3, 2022 – Posted in: Soccer

There’s one thing Ally McCoist and Alan Brazil can agree on ahead of Rangers vs Celtic on Sunday.

And Brazil, the die-hard Hoops fan, sums it up perfectly.

They look friendly now, but wait until midday on Sunday…

Scotland legends McCoist and Brazil are colleagues and close friends… until their beloved clubs face each other

Dan Jones – The Sun

Scotland legends McCoist and Brazil are colleagues and close friends… until their beloved clubs face each other

“I get so nervous, more than any other game,” he tells talkSPORT.com.

“When Rangers cross the halfway line or put a ball in the box, my stomach turns.”

For McCoist, the Gers’ greatest goalscorer in history, it’s no different.

“It’s amazing and it’s not a joke,” he responds, sitting next to his fellow Scotland legend and old mate, despite the blue/green divide.

“I remember as a wee boy, and I still get it now, when Celtic go up the park and get a corner, there’s a sick feeling in your stomach.

“You just want to get through it unscathed.”

This is the look of a man who knows what’s at stake in the Old Firm derby

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This is the look of a man who knows what’s at stake in the Old Firm derby


Grounded in religion and politics, the bitterness between Celtic and Rangers has shaped the very cultural fabric of Scotland.

Away tickets may be limited due to a dispute between the two clubs, but tackles will still be heard and felt all over Glasgow as the city grinds to a halt.

In other words, the Old Firm derby is never small – but this one is bigger than most.

After years of one club dominating without a challenge from the other, for both Celtic and Rangers across different spells, Scotland has a genuine title race this season – just like the old days.

The Hoops are three points clear of their arch-enemies, who will be out to defend their Premiership title in front of a deafening Ibrox crowd on Sunday.

But it’s more than just points at stake when the two famous Glasgow sides meet. Brazil says: “It is a special game. People down in England don’t realise.

Rangers have a title to defend when Celtic make the short journey

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Rangers have a title to defend when Celtic make the short journey

“It’s more than a football game for a lot of us. And I know what it means for a lot of my friends who still live in Glasgow.

“I lived the other side of Hampden Park when I was growing up and the cup final was always Celtic vs Rangers.

“There’s a place where two roads meet, one comes from the Rangers end and one comes from the Celtic end. Whoever won would wait there for their mates.

“A lot of my mates were Rangers fans and I’d be standing there waiting for them.

“They’d be climbing over rails to get across the park, and I’d do the same if Rangers beat Celtic.

“I’d put a hat and a false nose on if I could! It was just impossible for the next three days.”

Rangers will be hoping to avenge their Celtic Park humiliation

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Rangers will be hoping to avenge their Celtic Park humiliation

The bragging rights currently belong to Brazil following Celtic’s 3-0 victory over Rangers back in February.

And, as expected, there wasn’t a moment’s peace for McCoist that day.

The Rangers hero says: “There’s normally a text or two. The best ever was him during the last Old Firm game.

“I’m sitting in the commentary box, ready to go, my phone bleeps and it’s big Al. He says, ‘Bobby Madden is the referee? I cannot believe it, it’s my worst nightmare’.

“The match finishes 3-0. Five minutes after the game, my phone goes off: ‘That Bobby Madden is one of the best referees!’

“He was giving it all this about red and yellow cards for Celtic players, then a minute later: ‘Some referee that Bobby Madden!’

As the fixture’s record goalscorer, McCoist knows the Old Firm derby better than most

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As the fixture’s record goalscorer, McCoist knows the Old Firm derby better than most

“There’s something special about it. It’s the best derby for me. The best in the world.

“I want to go to Boca Juniors vs River Plate. I’d love to see that. But other than that, I’ve been to most of them in the UK and the atmosphere at the Old Firm beats them all.”

Anyone who listens to the talkSPORT Breakfast show will know that Brazil and McCoist are inseparable.

But with 27 goals against Celtic down the years, the most of any player in Old Firm history, did Brazil always have such warm feelings towards McCoist?

“Absolutely, but not for 90 minutes,” Brazil admits. “I’d be like, ‘He’s in the referee’s ear again, leave Neil Lennon alone!’

“At the end of the day, if me and Ally went to a game together, we’d shake hands, I’d go right and he goes left at Hampden, then you’re back to your schoolboy days for 90 minutes. It’s brilliant.”

This is what it means for the people of Glasgow

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This is what it means for the people of Glasgow

Expect that to continue on Sunday, with McCoist in the commentary box for Sky Sports and Brazil sat at home – on his phone, of course.

McCoist says: “I’ll be doing co-comms and giving my totally unbiased opinion on the match.”

And Brazil replies: “I’ll be writing to the broadcaster saying, ‘Get someone neutral up there!’”

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