With the first of the back-to-back festive derbies against Edinburgh Rugby now only five days away, Glasgow Warriors starlet Ryan Wilson today got an insight into the wealth of history surrounding the fixture when he visited the site of the very first inter-city derby.
The 1872 Cup, which the Warriors will defend at Murrayfield on Monday and then at Firhill on New Year’s Day, commemorates the year when one of the oldest rivalries in world sport was inaugurated.
The opening clash, on 23 November 1872, was played at the then home of Glasgow Accies, Burnbank, just off Great Western Road in the city’s west end.
Situated just over a mile from Firhill, the venue where 140 years of the fixture will soon be celebrated, the ground was also home at various times to Rangers FC, Caledonian Cricket Club and the 1st Lanarkshire volunteers. It was used for drill purposes as well as rugby and football, and hosted representative cricket games.
The land where Burnbank once stood has since been the site of a petrol station, a play park, and a parking lot.
The other Glasgow grounds where the inter-city fixture has been staged are: Hamilton Crescent, New Anniesland, Old Anniesland, Hughenden, Firhill, and Cathkin Park, the one-time home of Third Lanark FC and a former Scottish Cup final and Scotland international football venue.
In an interesting historical quirk, the Glasgow side that ran out for the first derby in 1872 contained both an R.Wilson and a G.Hunter. There is a parallel in the current squad, with Ryan Wilson and Scottish Rugby Elite Development prop George Hunter both part of the Warriors set-up.
Wilson told www.glasgowwarriors.org: “There’s so much history in this game, and as a team we’re well aware of the heritage and tradition we’ll be defending come the matches at Murrayfield and Firhill.
“It’s a real privilege to be involved in one of the oldest sporting rivalries anywhere in the world, and with both clubs going along pretty well this season, I’m sure the supporters are going to be treated to two fantastic occasions.
“It’s funny to think that there was an R.Wilson in the very first Glasgow team to face Edinburgh, and on a personal level I’m massively keen to be involved in the next couple of weeks. I got a taste of the 1872 Cup off the bench at Murrayfield last season, and I’m desperate to sample the atmosphere and rivalry again."
Glasgow Warriors gratefully acknowledge the assistance of Hugh Barrow in connection to today's activity.
Tickets for the deciding leg of the 1872 Cup derby double header against Edinburgh Rugby at Firhill on New Year's Day (kick-off 5.35pm) are available via www.glasgowwarriors.org, by calling 0844 800 3490, or in person at the Glasgow on Ice box office on George Square and the Gordon Street and Sauchiehall Street branches of Greaves Sports, our official retail partner.
Fans who book before midnight on Hogmanay will save £5 on the adult match-day price of £20. Students/senior citizens £10, under-18s £5.
Supporters should visit www.glasgowwarriors.org for details of a super saver joint ticket covering the Firhill derby and the crucial home Heineken Cup game against reigning champions Leinster, plus a raft of money can't buy incentives for clubs who sell derby tickets through their own websites.