The guard of honour won’t be happening at Ibrox, but is anyone surprised?

Celtic travel to Ibrox on Saturday after their title win at Tynecastle. Guard of honours have become tradition in football throughout the years, but what is a guard of honour and will there be a break in the tradition this weekend?

“A guard of honour is when a person or group of people line up to congratulate other(s) on an achievement.”

When a club wins the league title, they would usually receive a guard of honour from their opponents at their next game. With Celtic winning the league in Edinburgh last weekend, in an ideal world they would receive theirs before their next match. However, as Celtic take a trip to rivals Rangers on Saturday it doesn’t look as likely that that will happen.

In recent times, the Glasgow clubs have both decided to opt out of giving the other a guard of honour. In 2019, Celtic travelled to face Steven Gerrard’s Rangers at Ibrox after their eighth consecutive title win. With all eyes on Gerrard’s men and what they would choose to do, Rangers decided to pass on the show of respect.

Talking before the game in 2019, Kris Boyd said: “I think it would be the right thing to do”. I think Rangers would make a statement about what type of club they are if they do it”.


Neil Lennon also felt that it was time for a change, he stated:

“It’s a break from tradition. I think we would have done it if the shoe had been on the other foot. But it’s not a major issue.”

Steven Gerrard didn’t give too much away when talking about it, the Liverpudlian said: “To be honest my thoughts are not important on that subject. The club have made a decision on that, and decided there won’t be a guard of honour so I think my thoughts on it are irrelevant. I will follow what I am told to do by the people who are in charge of the club.”  Gerrard’s comments certainly appeared to be a little bit of a cop-out from the Rangers manager, if he wanted his side to give Celtic a guard of honour, he should have told them to.


In 2021, when discussing whether his former side should give Rangers a guard of honour, Brendan Rodgers said:

“My feeling is that you should always show humility and class, and be a sporting team.”

He then went on to recall a time he was at Chelsea, working as a coach under serial winner Jose Mourinho. Rodgers said: “I can never forget when I was at Chelsea as a young coach and, in that first season that Jose was in, they won the title. I remember going to Old Trafford to watch the game that evening and I’m sure the Man United players didn’t want to do it but I’m sure Fergie insisted they did it. That must have been really, really difficult but it showed you the class of Sir Alex and it showed you the humility of him that another competitor came in and took the title, but it was also sporting that they did that, but also can provide you with great motivation going forward. It’s something for me – despite the rivalry, despite how difficult it is – it’s something that you should do and use as motivation going forward.”

However, then-interim boss John Kennedy did not share the same view as his former gaffer, when he commented: “It is a subject that has been brought up and I’ve seen several people chatting about it.  It was the same two years ago when we were the champions although, if I’m being honest, I don’t think such a fuss was made about it and I don’t see it as a big issue. We have spoken collectively about it, and we won’t do it. It is not about lacking class. It is nothing like that because we are a club that always shows class and dignity and does what’s right. But ultimately, that same group of players who went there as champions and didn’t get respect at that time, if you want to call it that, are the same players who are being asked to stand there (this time). So, we have decided, as a group, that we will just get on with the game.”

This is definitely a situation that is always going to split opinions, and truth be told, whoever is on the receiving end of it is going to believe that they deserve it. On Tuesday’s ACSOM Bulletin, Liam Carrigan pointed out:

“Our rivals are too petulant to accept when they’ve been beaten, that’s the simple fact of it. No other team in Scotland would have an issue with giving Celtic or Rangers a guard of honour if they played them the week after they won the league.”

Whereas James McKenzie stated that he feels guards of honour are “outdated” and “ridiculous”.


In 2016, James Tavernier took aim at Hibernian in a cheap dig while praising Alloa Athletic for giving Rangers a guard of honour after their Championship win. Rangers had secured the title on Tuesday 5th April 2016 and were due to face Hibs next at Easter Road on Wednesday 20th. The Easter Road side refused to give the Glasgow side a guard of honour, with Alan Stubbs claiming he had already called Mark Warburton and David Weir to ‘honour’ their side’s achievements. Rangers would eventually receive their guard of honour on Saturday 23rd when they faced Alloa at home. The Rangers captain took to twitter to say:

“Great respect to @AlloaAthleticFC for the guard of honour today!! True sportsmanship unlike some!!”

With that being said, I would imagine that the Rangers captain will be first in line to show his respect to the league champions this Saturday.


Leave a Reply