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Rangers v Celtic: The Highest Scoring Old Firm Matches

One of the most anticipated sporting fixtures of the year, the historic Old Firm derby rarely fails to deliver fireworks of some description – whether that be in the form of a swathe of red cards, referees poleaxed by projectiles from the stands, players ending up in court in the aftermath, or, as was the case in the clash at Ibrox on 7 April 2024, goals, goals, and more goals.

That recent 3-3 thriller certainly served up a treat for the watching audience, with three goals coming between the 86th minute and the third minute of stoppage time, but where does it stand on the all-time list of goal-crazy Old Firm dust-ups? As we shall see, that end-to-end classic is far from alone in peppering the scoreboard and has been surpassed on several occasions in the storied history of Scotland’s greatest fixture.

21 Entries in the Six Goal Club

number 6That 3-3 draw in springtime 2024 shouldn’t have come as much of a surprise. After all, Celtic and Rangers had already shared six goals between them on no fewer than 20 occasions – including five previous 3-3 draws.

The most recent of those thrilling draws came during the 2001/02 campaign at Celtic Park, in a game which Celtic keeper Rab Douglas will be keen to forget. Having allowed a Mikel Arteta strike to slip through his fingers in the first half, Henrik Larsson looked to have spared Douglas’s blushes when levelling shortly before the break, before the prolific Swede fired the Hoops into an early second-half lead.

However, Ronald de Boer headed home on the hour mark to square things up before a second Douglas error allowed Shota Arveladze to hand the visitors the lead. Step forward Chris Sutton, who landed the final blow to seal a point. On the balance of play, this was the game which got away for Celtic. Dead level on points at the end of the season, Rangers won the title on goal difference.

Elsewhere in the six-goal section, Celtic have picked up four 5-1 triumphs, most recently when embarrassing Rangers on their own patch during the 2016/17 season. Rangers have three 5-1 wins to their name, but the most recent of those came back in 2000.

All Alone on Seven Strikes

Number 7Given the overload of six-goal games, you may have expected a similar showing as we move up to seven. However, only one game has landed on lucky number seven in the history of this clash. Not so lucky for Celtic, who came out on the wrong end of the 4-3 scoreline in a classic contest in 1935/36, with an 86th-minute winner from Jimmy Smith breaking the hearts of the home fans.

Eight Goals Tops the All-Time List

Number 8Only one entry at number seven, but we have no fewer than six games sharing the top spot on eight goals. Rangers fans, you may wish to look away now. The Teddy Bears played their part in the only draw in the section – a 4-4 cracker back in 1986 – but the rest of the eight-goal net-bulgers have belonged to the Green and White half of Glasgow.

Most of these incredible goalfest games won’t be available in the memory banks of the modern football supporter, with the one exception coming on a glorious/horrendous (delete as applicable) afternoon in August 2000, in a game affectionately known as the Demolition Derby.

Rangers headed to Celtic Park as the defending champions and many people’s favourites to retain the title. However, Celtic, under the guidance of Martin O’Neill, had built a new side over the summer and wasted no time in taking a wrecking ball to Rangers’ dreams.

With less than a minute on the clock, Chris Sutton tapped home following shambolic defending from a corner. Seven minutes later, another corner, and another goal – Stylian Petrov arriving to head home at the back post this time. On 11 minutes, the game was all but over, Paul Lambert thumping in a third from the edge of the area. Claudio Reyna pulled one back five minutes before the break, but the onslaught would resume after the interval.

Henrik Larsson restarted the party with a superb solo strike – megging his marker before dinking the keeper from the edge of the area. Billy Dodds made it 4-2 from the spot, but Celtic had the final word, courtesy of second goals for Larsson and Sutton.

That tide-changing victory marked the third time Celtic had beaten Rangers 6-2, but the biggest annihilation of all came in 1957 when the Bhoys battered the Blues 7-1 in a Scottish League Cup tie.

Highest Scoring Old Firm Games: Full List

Rangers vs Celtic at Ibrox Stadium
Rangers vs Celtic at Ibrox Stadium (Credit: Gregor Smith)
Year Result Competition Goals
2000 Celtic 6 – 2 Rangers League 8
1986 Rangers 4 – 4 Celtic League 8
1957 Celtic 7 – 1 Rangers Scottish League Cup 8
1939 Celtic 6 – 2 Rangers League 8
1896 Celtic 6 – 2 Rangers League 8
1894 Celtic 5 – 3 Rangers League 8
1936 Celtic 3 – 4 Rangers League 7
2017 Rangers 1 – 5 Celtic League 6
2016 Celtic 5 – 1 Rangers League 6
2011 Rangers 4 – 2 Celtic League 6
2008 Celtic 2 – 4 Rangers League 6
2002 Celtic 3 – 3 Rangers League 6
2000 Rangers 5 – 1 Celtic League 6
2000 Rangers 4 – 2 Celtic League 6
1998 Celtic 5 – 1 Rangers League 6
1995 Rangers 3 – 3 Celtic League 6
1994 Celtic 2 – 4 Rangers League 6
1988 Ranger 5 – 1 Celtic League 6
1982 Rangers 2 – 4 Celtic League 6
1982 Celtic 3 – 3 Rangers League 6
1978 Celtic 4 – 2 Rangers League 6
1969 Celtic 2 – 4 Rangers League 6
1966 Celtic 5 – 1 Rangers League 6
1961 Celtic 1 – 5 Rangers League 6
1902 Rangers 3 – 3 Celtic League 6
1902 Celtic 2 – Rangers 4 League 6
1899 Rangers 3 – 3 Celtic League 6
1895 Rangers 2 – 4 Celtic League 6