Everyone in Scotland, or even the United Kingdom in general, is fully aware of the Glasgow divide between Celtic and Rangers.
In fact, most football fans around the world will have heard of it, but experiencing it is a whole different kettle of fish, especially when you are a French player at the city’s third club, Queen’s Park, who currently play in Scotland’s League Two and are the only fully amateur club to in the Scottish Professional Football League.
Over the summer, they brought in Joffrey Lidouren from FC Bastia-Borgo in Corsica, and ahead of Rennes’ clash against Celtic in the Europa League, Le Télégramme went to have a chat with the Frenchman about the town and what it was like to live there.
And the first question was about the club rivalry and how you either support Neil Lennon’s current side or that of Steven Gerrard, who also happen to be in the European competition, but never both.
He replied: “Impossible! As soon as I arrived, I was asked who I supported. A few years ago, I went to see my brother in Ireland, and I bought a Celtic top, so I explained to them that in France, Celtic are more famous, but here, in Glasgow, it’s 50/50. The subject is quite taboo. You can’t speak about Rangers with Celtic fans and vice-versa.
“It’s very sensitive, you can feel the tension. In my team, there are fans of both sides, and on derby days, you don’t laugh. It’s serious. One day, I even saw a staff member celebrate a goal against Celtic because he’s a Rangers fan when Celtic were 5-1 up and the opponent had pulled it back to 5-2… You’re either blue or green!”
Another reason why Lidouren keeps an eye on Celtic more than Rangers is the fact they have a number of French players in their squad, like Odsonne Édouard, Olivier Ntcham and Christopher Jullien.
As for some insight into what Rennes can expect from Celtic, the Queen’s Park player feels their weak spot could be down their left-hand side following the sale of Kieran Tierney, and in midfield where Scott Brown could get caught out by the talent in the Ligue 1 side’s midfield because all he has is ‘energy’ and ‘combative spirit’, which ‘won’t be enough’.
Their strengths? Odsonne Édouard in front of goal and Ntcham.