51. A Celtic Ranger World

@Glasgow, Glasgow, Scotland.

The largest city in Scotland and third most populous one in the United Kingdom, is what I visited as the first big place in Scotland. The city is situated on the River Clyde and could be visited along with Edinburgh as both cities are not too far away from each other as long as there is transportation. The origins of Glasgow as a city can be traced back to the tenth and the eleventh centuries even as an earlier religious site was known to be established by Saint Mungo near by. The founding of University of Glasgow as the fourth oldest university in the English-speaking world; one of Scotland’s four ancient universities which was a major centre of the Scottish Enlightenment, as well as the effects of Industrial Revolution, made Glasgow a superior city. The city produced textiles, chemicals, engineered goods and steel along with being a superior force in the shipbuilding industry. The city has a mention in ‘A tour thro’ the whole island of Great Britain’, the travel accounts of Daniel Defoe, the author of one of the greatest colonial novels of all time, Robinson Crusoe. He was all praise for the city as he termed it as the cleanest and beautifullest and best built city in Britain with the exception of the capital city of England and the United Kingdom, London and it was difficult to prove him wrong, even before the Industrial Revolution.

The city is considered one of the safest in the world and as its coat of arms has a number of symbols and emblems associated with the life of Glasgow’s patron saint, St. Mungo, also known as Saint Kentigern and his blessings which is supposed to keep the city safe, as most of his miracles are supposed to have occured in the same city itself. The cathedral dedicated to him, in the city is a beauty; looking at it from the top of Glasgow Necropolis hill. What attracts the most in Glasgow is this Victorian cemetery in Glasgow, the Glasgow Necropolis close to St. Mungo’s Cathedral and located at an elevated place resembling a hill. It is a huge graveyard with lots of stylish monuments which dates back over centuries; only a small percentage are named on monuments though, and not every grave has a stone which leaves most of the dead and buried people unknown. With the number of people visiting the church decreasing, and the area for burial also getting filled, there was always going to be the need for something like this, and I wouldn’t be surprised if this kind of problem arises for the churches outside Europe too; there is the need for big burial places like this everywhere, as the people will keep dying and none of them comes back not even in the form of zombies. The Resident Evil fans might disagree, and I would agree if this was that much of a horror movie. Even ’28 Days Later would have done the job, but as we wait for such an apocalypse, there is need for graves; something like this grave yard, a city of the necrons like that in Warhammer 4000: Dawn of War – The Dark Crusade, the wonderful strategy game based on Games Workshop’s popular tabletop wargame of the same name.

There are so many football clubs in Glasgow even as I thought all the action was restricted t England mostly with Manchester United, Chelsea, Liverpool, Arsenal, Manchester City, Everton and Newcastle United; a few teams which seemed to be representing football in the island. Even Leeds United had further representation in my mind until I reached Glasgow. I would keep Partick Thistle Football Club and Queen’s Park Football Club reserved for later visits as it is all about the Celtic Football Club and the Rangers Football Club for now as they kept the Scottish Premier League trophy away from all the other teams; the ones who denied the other teams any opportunity to get anything from their league. Rangers have already won 54 League Championships, which translates as more national championships than any other football club in the world. They have won the Scottish League Cup itself 27 times that more than any other football club of Scotland and the Scottish Cup 33 times. In 1961, this team reached the final of the European Cup Winners’ Cup, becoming the first British club to reach the final of a UEFA club competition. They have also won the Scottish Football League the most number of times, one more than their rivals Celtic after trailing to them, with consecutive championships in the last few years and looking good to win the current one too.

The fierce rivalry between the two teams from Glasgow would continue, and it might make sure for a long time, that the trophy will always come back to the same city. The two clubs, when considered together, are the most successful in Scotland, having won between them 96 Scottish League championships, 67 Scottish Cups and 41 Scottish League Cups with the power to continue winning more, with one of these teams coming second too. Since the 1995–96 season, this power of the two teams has been proven and these clubs have finished in the top two places in every season, apart from that of 2005–06, when Heart of Midlothian Football Club finished second ahead of Rangers; Celtic has never gone below the second place position though. Rangers and Celtic had played each other 396 times: Rangers winning 158 matches, Celtic 143 matches and 95 of those hard fought matches ended in draws, not disappointing the fans of both sides to a hight extent. The clubs surely have huge fan bases around Glasgow as many people do take sides, but they also have supporters in most towns throughout Scotland and in many cities around the world, and I would add Cochin to one of them, as I have become a fan too, more of Celtic than of Rangers as I am always the fan of the team which stays behind and is looking to rise to the top; a reason to support Manchester United this year, even as I won’t watch the English Premier League.

Coming back to the Celtic Football Club, as it is not to be given any lesser importance; may be I would consider it with more passion. Contributing to the Scottish economy along with its rivals and providing some of the best football matches, they would force me to watch the Scottish Premier League forever, provided the cable television operators will come up with a channel showing these; until then it is all English Premier League on television along with a little action from Spain and Italy. But Celtic will still remain in my favourites list, for there is youtube and there is that wonderful word ‘Celtic’ which keeps running through my ears all the time with my journey through the History of English Language and Literature. Tracing back to those diverse groups of tribal societies in Iron Age and the Roman-era Europe who spoke Celtic languages and were driven to the north of the island by the Romans themselves and later the Angles, Saxons and Jutes; not really in the path of that history would this football club develop, but it still gives that feeling of history to me. The earliest archaeological culture of the area might be Proto-Celtic and now this Celtic Football Club holds that name. For me, this serves as a reminder to everything I read and studied about this Celtic culture and language.

This cohesive cultural entity influenced me the most with Celtic Cross even as the Celtic languages form such an important branch of the larger Indo-European family and split into several different language groups, and spread over much of Western continental Europe, the Iberian Peninsula, Irish islands and Britain. The origin for the Celts as a distinct cultural branch of the Indo-European family would be as much important to me as the Celtic Christianity and its wonderful forms of cross not only with that cricle around the middle of those four arms of the cross, but also with all those carvings which we see on them. There have been so many similar crosses all around the crosses including those areas outside Ireland and Scotland as well as continental Europe which might have been influenced by the same; those types can be seen even in Kerala in the south of India, but I wouldn’t attribute them to the Celtic origin. This contribution, I consider more impressive than the small contributions to the English language, as the influence of the conquerer’s languages were to be less important, and the Celtic crosses at Necropolis were that good. Coming back to the Celtic Football Club, it has my favourite logo and a wonderful structure which looks historic from the front; the attempt to get into it was spoiled as it was not open at that time. Drinking hot chocolate, tea as well as eating French Fries from what looked more like a ‘thattukada’ on the front of the stadium was good. To add to them, there was St Andrew’s in the Square, and there were museums.

Diving out —>

TeNy