Like most historically rich rivalries, the Edinburgh derby has evolved and narratives have developed over the years due to the inevitability of the passing of time and new factors being introduced. Football has changed, Scottish football has changed and the Edinburgh derby has changed. Look what the passage of time and various alterations have done to Barry Manilow’s face, for example. If not managed well, time can be your nemesis, but that’s where football in the Scottish capital differs from the face of Barry Manilow. Both of the Edinburgh giants have faced adversity both on and off the field but have managed to stand the test of time and still provide us with one of the most anticipated encounters on the Scottish footballing calendar.
Its importance to the city can not be undersold and has never been in doubt. Edinburgh is the capital city in a country that has an unrivalled cultural lust for football, but Edinburgh in particular has always had sport in general in its ecosystem. The geographical location of Murrayfield stadium has played a vital role in this genetic passion for sport in Edinburgh, but football in the capital provides an alterative and contrasting experience to what you’ll get at your average six nations match. This diversity has helped encourage a sporting culture in Scotland’s capital, so regular top-flight derby football is essential.
Be warned, I’m going to seek the help of Barry Manilow once more as I feel he could provide visual aid. Yes, a man who has the resting face of someone who has just downed a full bag of Tangfastics is an accurate visual representation of what happened to Rangers in 2012. Once at the very zenith of Scottish football, Rangers were reduced to rubble and had to start again due to financial mismanagement. This added a new layer to Scottish footballs biggest rivalry. A materialistic layer devoid of history. Both Edinburgh sides have had their noses pressed up against ‘the wall’ at some point but managed to overcome financial adversity and prevent the erosion of integrity. Although seen as the undercard to the old firm in the past, the Edinburgh derby has maintained its continuity and is a far more even derby compared to the current gulf in class between Celtic and ‘The Rangers’.
as of 2017, the Edinburgh derby has entered a fresh phase and is, thankfully, devoid of merger mentions, Lithuanian oligarchs, mental fragility consuming green and white jerseys and, most importantly, Billy Brown. It can prosper again without these afflictions. The following statement came from an interview with former Hibernian goalkeeper Graham Stack in 2014 when discussing ex-Hibernian manager Pat Fenlon’s approach to the derby: “Pat Fenlon would tell the players to treat it like just another game” It wont surprise you to hear that Pat Fenlon had a very poor derby record. it’s not an ordinary game and its role in the city or the domestic football schedual must not be undervalued.
Both sides can now flaunt the following: record attendances in the modern era, financial security and infrastructure. This puts into perspective the health of football in the capital and whether you lurk in Georgie or Leith, There’s an understanding of the importance of regular derby football in Edinburgh.