CELTIC and Rangers must follow in the footsteps of other Scottish teams and ban "triggering" sponsorship by betting firms, an ex-gambling addict has said.

The two Glasgow clubs are both sponsored by bookmakers which are emblazoned on their kits – Rangers are sponsored by 32Red and Unibet, while Celtic are backed by dafabet.

Celtic fan Martin Paterson – who was addicted to gambling for more than 40 years after starting out betting on football – has now called on both teams to drop what he feels is the “wrong message” for young fans and put an end to betting firm sponsorship.

Women’s team Glasgow City FC have thrown their weight behind a campaign called The Big Step calling for a ban on gambling advertising and are completely against any form of gambling advertising at their games.

The campaign has also been backed by the likes of Partick Thistle, Edinburgh City and English teams including Luton Town and Forest Green Rovers.

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Premier League clubs south of the Border have agreed to withdraw gambling sponsorship on the front of shirts from the 2026/27 season.

Paterson – who lives in Coatbridge - insisted Celtic and Rangers are normalising betting for young people.

He told The National: “It sends out the wrong message. It suggests betting is all okay and normal. The tobacco industry did the same thing with sponsorship.

“They can do so much by removing themselves from any kind of gambling sponsorship.

“I’ve been on many trips to Celtic Park and tours and the place is saturated – the dressing rooms, the tunnel, the whole stadium. It’s a shame.

“It’s a massive trigger for people in recovery and it’s also a normalisation for kids to do it because their heroes are wearing it. They’re like billboards. They could send out a different message worldwide, because they’re supported worldwide.

“Professional footballers should be wearing something regarding protein or other products that are not harmful.

The National: Martin Paterson said Celtic Park is 'saturated' with betting adverts which he thinks sends out the wrong message to young fansMartin Paterson said Celtic Park is 'saturated' with betting adverts which he thinks sends out the wrong message to young fans (Image: NQ)

“Glasgow City have declined any gambling industry money and Celtic Women have got the Celtic Foundation on their shirts, so that’s a bit hypocritical [from Celtic] as the foundation do great stuff for people with dementia and other mental health problems, yet they don’t seem to recognise that gambling is a public health and mental health problem.

“Rangers are sponsored by 32Red and Unibet and they’re the same – it’s all over the kit and the training kit and the stadium. It’s all over the boards when they [players] get interviewed.”

Dundee United – who were relegated from the Scottish Premiership at the weekend – also have QuinnCasino their kit.

Last year the Scottish Professional Football League (SPFL) said it had no plans to follow England in imposing a blanket ban on gambling sponsorship.

It stated sponsorship was "a matter for each club" and described betting deals as "a significant source of income" for many teams.

Paterson – who told The National he no longer enjoys watching football because of betting adverts – is also calling on the UK Government to ban all gambling advertising as part of proposed reforms in its white paper.

The blueprint – called High Stakes: Gambling reform for the digital age – includes plans such as affordability checks and limited stakes of between £2 and £15 for online slot machines.

But Paterson insists it doesn’t go far enough with no plans to restrict advertising, while he branded the stake limits proposal as “unbelievable”, suggesting people could still lose vast amounts of money in no time at all.

The white paper is also now being call the “wet paper” by those campaigning for stricter laws because it has been delayed several times since a review of regulations was launched in 2020.

Scotland has no devolved power to control gambling advertising. 

Paterson’s calls for Scottish clubs to get rid of gambling advertising have been backed by former first minister Henry McLeish, who has argued gambling and alcohol advertising should have no place in Scottish football.

He said: “We dealt with tobacco, now we've got to deal with alcohol, now we've got to deal with gambling."

Celtic and Rangers have been approached for comment by The National.