Celtic v Rangers: 'Give me Old Firm to Manchester derby' - Paul Elliott

Celtic's Paul Elliott tries to challenge Rangers winger Mark Walters in 1990
Paul Elliott (left) was sold on a move to Glasgow by his friend Mark Walters (right), the ex-Rangers winger

Paul Elliott says he would rather be at Celtic Park than Old Trafford as the Glasgow and Manchester derbies compete for worldwide attention on Saturday.

The former Celtic and Chelsea defender was asked if would rather attend the Old Firm clash (12:00 BST) or encounter between United and City (12:30 KO).

"Manchester's a great game, great city, great managers, great players," said Elliott, who had two years in Glasgow.

"But I'd love to be among the Celtic supporters in that intensity."

The Old Firm rivals have only met twice in cup competitions since financial problems led to Rangers playing four seasons in the lower divisions.

"Scotland suffered commercially, environmentally, socially because of that," Elliott told BBC Scotland's Sportsound ahead of Celtic and Rangers' first Scottish Premiership meeting of the season.

"It is a huge game and especially with the circumstances.

"I think it is wonderful that this weekend the two biggest clubs in Scotland have reconnected and we've got a fantastic game in prospect, not just for Scotland but for Britain and maybe for the whole of Europe as well.

"Being in that environment, in that intensity, after a five-year absence, being part of an Old Firm game - that's where I would want to be."

'I felt like I needed an extra lung to keep up'

Elliott, who also played for Charlton, Luton, Aston Villa, and Pisa in Italy, says he "never experienced such a rivalry, a day-to-day intensity" as his time with Celtic from 1989 to 1991.

"Two huge clubs, two global brands within a three-mile square radius," he noted.

"I was in Italy before, playing at a slow, far more moderate tempo and build-up.

"Coming from that tempo, at times in Glasgow I felt like I needed an extra lung to keep up with the play. It took me three or four months to just get used to the tempo."

'Nothing can beat the Old Firm'

Former Rangers full-back Arthur Numan challenges Celtic's Vidar Riseth on his Old Firm debut in 1998
Arthur Numan (right) had a chastening Old Firm debut in November 1998

Former Netherlands full-back Arthur Numan joined Rangers in 1998, nine years after Elliott arrived at Celtic, despite knowing little about Scottish football.

His Old Firm debut was a 5-1 drubbing at Celtic Park.

"The atmosphere was unbelievable," recalled the 46-year-old, who spent five years with Rangers after joining from PSV Eindhoven. "Sometimes I was looking around me and thinking 'what is happening?'.

"I had just come back from the World Cup, so I was playing at the highest level against the big teams and against the best players.

"But to be honest, playing in an Old Firm game was still the highlight of my career.

"Nothing can beat the Old Firm and all my friends who came over said it was absolutely fantastic and all wanted to come back, even now."

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