Rangers and Celtic, the dominant Glasgow football clubs, go back a long way in their sectarian hatred. The deep and violent rivalry between the traditionally Protestant Rangers and Celtic’s overwhelmingly Catholic support continues today, with total segregation at clashes between the two sides, known as the “Old Firm”.
Born a Protestant in 1947 and raised by Catholics in Glasgow, I had something of a conflicted childhood. Catholic kids had chapel and a separate education, while my birthright decreed I that was sent to Sunday School and got to wear my blue scarf to see “the Gers” at Ibrox Park every fortnight.
The Rangers Accordion Band had its practice hall on our tenement block and a pal took me along when I was 10. After a few weeks, I was picking up “the box” quite well, when the bandleader said he wanted a word. “They tell me your mother’s a Catholic, son.”
“No, not really,” I said. “The people who are bringing me up are Catholics. I don’t know where my real ma and da are.”
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