The Old Firm matches don’t count any more, of course. They are a hangover from the days of the bigot brothers and a blot on the escutcheon of Scotland, and we should ignore them and hope they go away, because let’s face it, they’re just not what they used to be and nobody really cares about them.

There are even plenty of people who deny they are the Old Firm, usually pusillanimous pipsqueaks exuding their impotence on a smartphone because they would never actually say so to your face. There are many other people who say they can’t be the Old Firm because the chaps in blue are a new club. Oh, really? So why get all hot and bothered about them ... same teams, same homes, same supporters, move on. And don’t bother coming on to the website and ranting because you’ll just prove my point – fans care, because they ARE the Old Firm.

Now having written a book about the Old Firm from the Celtic point of view, you would expect me to be biased, but I can say without hesitation that it is the greatest derby match – i.e. a game between two teams from the same area – in the world that is famed globally. Here’s my scintilla of proof.

Yesterday, I arrived in Turkey for a brief break – drop everything and go there now because thanks to Donald Trump wrecking their economy it’s ridiculously cheap and you would really be helping the fine Turkish people by supporting them at this time.

I swear this is true and I have a witness who was there. Having our very, very first drink at the bar of our hotel, we were served by a waiter who was friendliness personified. We got talking and in impeccable English he told us he was from Bangladesh, was studying in Ankara and he was nearing the end of his summer job

He quickly twigged we were Scottish and I told him I was born in Glasgow.

“Ah,” he replied, “my team is Glasgow Rangers.”

I couldn’t believe it. You go all that way to Turkey, first guy you meet is from Bangladesh, and he is a Teddy Bear.

Then to prove his allegiance, he said: “We are the people!”

Forgive me, but I couldn’t resist it – “not on Sunday you weren’t”. He was immediately and obviously crestfallen and I apologised for intruding into public grief. I hasten to add we are getting along just fine which is very important as he’s the keeper of the very good Turkish beer I’m drinking.

I simply do not understand the people who want to downplay the Old Firm. Sure there are parts of their joint history we could well do without, but it is a history shared by both clubs that emanated from the fact that in 1887-88, a group of young Protestant boys encouraged a group of Catholics, mainly of Irish descent, to get their football club going, even to the extent of being their first opponents. The reason why they reached out across the divide was that Queen’s Park and Clyde dominated Glasgow football at the time and the newcomers and Rangers were working-class clubs who were not happy with the middle-class and frankly sectarian ethos of the established clubs.

That shared friendly history is why they are the Old Firm – all the bigotry came much later – and they really have a history. In competitive matches, for instance, the Old Firm is by a long way the longest history of any derby anywhere in the world.

Crucially, it was an unbroken history for 120 years as both clubs always competed in the top division of the Scottish Football League. Counting friendlies in the early years, and minor tournaments such as the long-defunct Glasgow Charity Cup, they have played each other around 600 times, by some way a record for any senior derby. Rangers have the most wins in all games, and about a quarter of the matches have been draws. But in competitive matches, Celtic are fast catching up – two or three wins behind – and I think they may even surpass Rangers this season.

Which brings me to my point – Celtic outplayed Rangers on Saturday and should have won comfortably. They had the best players by far, but Rangers have a superb goalkeeper and their defence was wholly admirable except for being caught out by a stunning Celtic counter-attack.

Make no mistake, Steven Gerrard has put together a well-organised team and has achieved the goal of making the Europa League group stages, which should bring more investment in the team – chairman Dave King must ensure that happens.

Let’s see what happens...

After years of almost total dominance by Celtic, the Old Firm as a competitive fixture is back, and I know I am not alone in saying that, while we can never forget the history of sectarianism which I believe is slowly on the wane, we can and should relish the rivalry in the greatest derby in the world.