Celtic and Rangers are to play each other outside of Scotland for the first time after the Premiership sides were announced as participants in the Sydney Super Cup.
Australia’s A-League confirmed that the inaugural tournament in November will not only feature Celtic manager Ange Postecoglou’s homecoming, but will see his side face their fierce rivals Down Under.
Celtic had announced on Tuesday that they planned to travel for a friendly tournament in Australia when domestic football takes a break for the Qatar World Cup, but the Parkhead side did not announce who their opposition would be.
Now, the A-League have announced that the four-team tournament will feature Scotland’s biggest clubs as well as Sydney FC and Western Sydney Wanderers.
Minister for Enterprise, Investment and Trade, Minister for Tourism and Sport and Minister for Western Sydney Stuart Ayres said it was a great coup for Sydney.
“Sydney has kicked another goal as Australia’s home of football with the world’s best clubs coming out to play our hometown heroes in the Sydney Super Cup. What better way to start than with a historic rivalry like the Celtic vs Rangers derby,” Ayres said.
“This will be the first time in history this iconic matchup has been played outside of Scotland, so this will be a huge attraction for football fans domestically and abroad.
“With three big matches played over five nights, visiting football fans will have an opportunity for an extended stay in the Harbour City, enjoying our vast cultural offerings, and vibrant hospitality and nightlife in one of the world’s great sporting cities.
“The benefits for our city and state will be huge, as we look to bring visitors back to Sydney by creating a regular blockbuster bi-annual event that will showcase our city, our local teams and our world-class stadiums to the rest of world.
“The NSW Government is focused on delivering marquee events like the Sydney Super Cup that capture the world’s attention, drive the NSW visitor economy and build Sydney’s reputation as the major events capital of the Asia Pacific.”
Speaking to Celtic’s official website on Tuesday about his return to Australia, before the teams were announced, Postecoglou had said he was eagerly anticipating the trip.
“I haven’t been home for almost three years by the time this comes around so I’m super-excited.
‘The club’s obviously been down there a couple of times before and I know just how passionate the Celtic fans are about the football club, so we’re looking forward to it.’
“It is a homecoming in many respects. That’s where my roots are, that’s where I grew up and I know that since I’ve been in this position at Celtic, people have been following my journey, whether they know me or not, and I’ll have a great sense of pride going back to Australia as manager of Celtic.
“It will be special. The club’s always had a strong connection with Australia, and I know how passionate the supporters’ groups are down there and how they follow the club, whether that’s been with Tommy Rogic or Scotty McDonald, or Jackson Irvine – people who have passed through the club – and now I am manager of the club.
“And I think the Australian public in general will take great pride that one of theirs is in charge of such a famous club.
“We just want to represent this football club and what it’s all about. I’ve understood the responsibility I have for it since I’ve taken on the role, but I just know how passionate people are and the first thing is they’ll want to get to a ground and watch the team play, just to have that feeling.
‘We all know what the Celtic support is like and that’s not just here at Celtic Park. We’ve felt it on away trips in Europe and people will see that, back in Australia, they’re just as passionate.’
“It’s enormously important because I don’t take for granted the distance between here and back home, and you need to understand that, for people to be that passionate about a football club that’s halfway around the world – most of them are watching our games in the middle of the night.
“So for them to be able to share it with other people that they follow this club with and watch the team live will be a special moment for them.
“And it will create, I think, a unique atmosphere which only a Celtic crowd can provide. So for Australia sporting followers, they’re realise it’s something special.
“Just being back on home soil and bringing this great football club to my shores will be special.”