USMNT Coach Gregg Berhalter Divides Opinion By Inviting Old Firm Players For Dinner

El Clasico, The Manchester Derby, Der Klassiker, and The North London Derby are just some of the footballing derbies around the world that are heated and have lots at stake, no matter the time or the context.

One hotly anticipated derby that does not get mentioned enough but is most likely the most heated rivalry around the world is the Old Firm Derby.

This derby, worth £120 million of Scotland’s economy (according to estimates), is played between Celtic and Rangers.

Both clubs are based out of Glasgow, but it is not just mere geography that this rivalry has been born out of.

The clubs are two of the most successful clubs in Scotland and their divisions are rooted deep in religion, policies and politics.

Vouching for the derby’s intensity and comparing it with the world-famous El Clasico, legendary Celtic striker Henrik Larsson conceded: “I never experienced anything, either before or after, that compared to my Old Firm games in Scotland. That was the best atmosphere and those were the most fierce encounters I ever played in.”

No one likes losing this game. Just ask former Rangers boss Steven Gerrard.

The complicated and aggressive nature of the game involves the supporters as much as it does the players.

The rivalry is not just relevant in Scotland but in Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland as well. There have been instances of heavy violence when the two sides meet.

With Celtic sitting atop the league table and Rangers second, the derby on 3rd September was poised to be crucial for both clubs.

Celtic fans created a raucous atmosphere in the stadium, and thrashed Rangers 4-0, with goals from Abada, Jota and Turnbull.

Celtic fans display giant tifo for Rangers clash

As is the case with any football club around the world, Rangers were made well aware of what their supporters thought about the results.

Having just been defeated by their bitter rivals, the last thing Rangers fans would have expected is to see their players mingle with players from the opposite side.

Unfortunately, it seems that the memo did not reach Malik Tillman and James Sands as the Rangers duo were seen having dinner with Cameron Carter-Vickers.

All the 3 USMNT players were accompanied at dinner by their national team coach Gregg Berhalter.

It is quite possible that the manager was the reason for them socialising together after the match, which speaks volumes about the manager’s naivety and understanding of Scottish footballing culture.

USNMT face Japan and Saudi Arabia later this month, and the coach may have invited the trio for some discussions and team building.

Regardless of the reason, fraternising with your fiercest rivals, on the same day of the game, is frowned upon.

Even more so for the Rangers duo than for Vickers, who had been embarrassed and should make every effort to make up for it and not brush it aside.

With the Champions League starting tomorrow, the team and the players should move on quickly to appease fans with good results.

While national team coaches have to put the national team’s interest before their players’ club’s interest, it need not be done at the expense of traditions.

And as for Gregg Berhalter, we can recommend a few readings on various footballing cultures and heritages so he can avoid doing something like that again.