SCOTTISH giants Celtic and Rangers will BOTH appear in the Champions League this season for the first time in 15 years.
Arguably football’s greatest rivalry will now be showcased on the biggest stage with both clubs set to take on Europe’s best.
Whether you’re a fan of Scottish football or not, there is no doubt that the presence of these two historic clubs will add a new level of excitement to this year’s competition.
Many of Europe’s finest prospects have travelled to both Celtic Park and Ibrox during their careers – including Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo – and each have offered rave reviews of the unique atmosphere that both grounds hold.
After taking to the pitch at Celtic Park in 2007 with Barcelona, seven-time Ballon d’Or winner Messi admitted it produced the “best atmosphere” in Europe.
He said: “The games against Celtic were special and I want to remember them.
“We know we would get a tough game if we drew them in the Champions League, but everybody involved in those Barcelona v Celtic games wants to go and play there again.
“It is the best atmosphere in Europe and we all want to experience that again.”
Ronaldo, who made an appearance at Celtic’s iconic stadium in 2008, also revealed that it was “great” to play there.
Some legends of the game have also praised Rangers fans for the atmosphere at Ibrox, including Chelsea icon Didier Drogba.
The former Ivory Coast international said: “All I can say when I try to imagine what it will be like at Ibrox is ‘Ooh la la!’.
“I played against Rangers at Ibrox with Chelsea in the summer (2011) and we lost 2-0, I have told Perrin that the atmosphere at Ibrox is absolutely magical.
“To my way of appreciating football, it’s truly really beautiful. That’s how to support your team!”
While Celtic and Rangers have both enjoyed individual stints in Uefa’s most prestigious club competition, this season will mark the first time since the 2007/08 campaign that both sides have competed at the same time.
Rangers are yet to experience winning a Champions League title, but Giovanni van Bronckhorst’s side came agonisingly close to clinching the Europa League last season.
The Gers made it all the way to the final but lost out to Eintracht Frankfurt on penalties.
Meanwhile, Celtic lifted the Champions League trophy – then called the European Cup – in 1967 after defeating Inter Milan in the final.