Europa League final: Rangers' presence highlights the many links between host city Seville and Scottish football

By Sports Desk May 17, 2022

Wednesday's Europa League final is set to attract over 150,000 Eintracht Frankfurt and Rangers fans to Seville, despite well under a third of that total having tickets.

With neither club having won a continental trophy since Eintracht lifted the UEFA Cup in 1980, this final has truly captured the imagination of supporters who certainly wouldn't have had grand expectations of getting this far.

But for Rangers especially, there's an air of destiny about their journey to the final – or, more specifically, host city Seville.

While perhaps not obvious, Scottish football can claim several football links to Andalusia's capital.

Perhaps Rangers' passage – and potential victory – were meant to be…

Sevilla's Scottish roots

These links go back as far as 1890, when a group of British men in Seville celebrated Burns Night by founding Club de Football de Sevilla.

Edward Farguharson Johnston of Elgin and Hugh MacColl, from Glasgow, were among the club's founders, with the latter appointed as Sevilla's first ever captain.

Sevilla's founding and debut match were first described in The Dundee Courier six weeks after that fateful Burns Night, with Recreativo Huelva their opponents in the first official match ever played in Spain on March 8, 1890. Sevilla won 2-0.

While Recreativo were Spain's first sports club, the match against Sevilla makes Los Nervionenses – whose Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan stadium provides the setting for Wednesday's final – the oldest club dedicated solely to football in the country.

And it's partly thanks to a Glaswegian.

Betis' homage to Celtic

A Spanish man named Manuel Asensio Ramos studied in Scotland as a young adult, taking on Celtic as his adopted club while he was there.

He later returned home to Spain and became one of the founding members of Real Betis, who subsequently donned green and white stripes as a tribute to Celtic from 1911.

Celtic had changed to their famous hoops eight years earlier, but the link was set in history.

Five years ago, Betis briefly switched to hoops for a match against Malaga to celebrate Andalusia Day, with Celtic communicating their delight at the club choosing "to wear the hoops for their special day".

The Bhoys from Seville

Of course, 2022 isn't the first time one of the Glasgow giants has been in Seville for a European final.

Nineteen years ago, Celtic reached the UEFA Cup final, facing Jose Mourinho's Porto at the Estadio La Cartuja on the outskirts of the city – that is also the location of Rangers' 'fan zone' this week.

'The Bhoys from Seville' was the nickname bestowed upon Celtic for the trip, with the tag a pun on their 'the Boys from Brazil' moniker.

Celtic ultimately lost 3-2 via the silver goal rule in extra time, but the occasion is still widely remembered fondly by the club and supporters, 80,000 of whom were said to be in Seville for the festivities.

Fans of the club were widely commended for their behaviour in the city, with UEFA and FIFA later awarding them Fair Play Awards.

Glasgow returns the favour

Four years after Seville played host to Celtic, Glasgow welcome Sevilla and Espanyol for the 2007 UEFA Cup final.

Hampden Park was the location of Sevilla's second successive triumph in the competition, beating their LaLiga rivals 3-1 on penalties after a gripping 2-2 draw over 120 minutes.

Despite Celtic's links to Betis, it was widely felt by Sevilla fans in attendance that Bhoys supporters were cheering on Los Nervionenses, while Rangers aficionados adopted Espanyol as their team.

Dani Alves was the only Sevilla player to miss his penalty, while Andres Palop in the Andalusians' net made three vital saves.

Related items

  • Forest complete Dennis and Kouyate moves Forest complete Dennis and Kouyate moves

    Nottingham Forest have continued their heavy recruitment drive with the double signing of Emmanuel Dennis and Cheikhou Kouyate.

    Nigeria striker Dennis scored 10 Premier League goals for Watford last term but could not prevent the Hornets from being relegated to the Championship.

    Dennis played in Watford's first two matches of the campaign but was not involved against Burnley on Friday and has now signed for Forest in a reported £20million deal.

    Premier League new boys Forest later confirmed free transfer signing of Kouyate, who had been without a club since leaving Crystal Palace at the end of last season.

    Kouyate brings plenty of top-flight experience to the City Ground having made 147 appearances for West Ham before joining Palace and playing 141 games for the Eagles.

    Earlier this year, Kouyate helped Senegal to Africa Cup of Nations glory and played his part in securing qualification for this year's World Cup in Qatar.

    Dennis and Kouyate became Forest's 13th and 14th signings of the transfer window, joining the likes of Dean Henderson, Jesse Lingard and Taiwo Awoniyi at the East Midlands club.

    Brighton and Hove Albion striker Neal Maupay has also been linked with a switch to Forest.

    Forest began their return to the Premier League with a 2-0 defeat at Newcastle United last weekend and welcome West Ham on Sunday.

  • Cifuentes leads LAFC to 5-0 thrashing of Charlotte, Philadelphia Union extend lead atop the East Cifuentes leads LAFC to 5-0 thrashing of Charlotte, Philadelphia Union extend lead atop the East

    Los Angeles FC showed why they are the MLS' best team this season as they hammered Charlotte 5-0 to move six points clear atop the Western Conference, with a game in hand.

    LAFC controlled the first half, creating 12 shots to Charlotte's four, but after 45 minutes the sides went into the half-time break locked at 0-0 as the home side's attacks continued to falter in the final third.

    Whatever the advice was during the break seemed to work a treat, with Jesus Murillo finding the breakthrough in the 49th minute when he headed home a stylish lofted through ball from Diego Palacios. That opened the floodgates, with Jose Cifuentes making it 2-0 10 minutes later, and Cifuentes then turned distributor in the 73rd minute to set up Carlos Vela for 3-0.

    Cristian Arango got in on the fun to put home LAFC's fourth in the 76th minute, and an own goal in stoppage time from Charlotte captain Anton Walkes completed the rout.

    Earlier in the day, it was Orlando City jumping up into the Eastern Conference's top-six with a 1-0 upset win away from home against New York Red Bulls.

    Uruguay's Facundo Torres netted the game's only goal in the 17th minute to make it five matches without a win for the Red Bulls, who still sit fourth in the East.

    In a back-and-forth contest, Cincinnati came back from an early 1-0 deficit to lead 2-1 at half-time through goals to Brandon Vasquez and Brenner, only to be denied the three points by an Andrew Gutman equaliser in the 83rd minute.

    The East's bottom side DC United continued to struggle on their way to a 1-0 away loss against the New England Revolution, while the top side in the East, the Philadelphia Union, made it look easy as they treated their home fans to a 4-1 pummelling of the Chicago Fire.

    Inter Miami held onto the seventh and final Eastern Conference playoff spot with their 3-2 win against New York City, thanks in large part to Alejandro Pozuelo's brace, with one assist coming from Gonzalo Higuain.

    Austin FC came back from 3-1 down at half-time to steal a 4-3 win against Sporting Kansas City, with Sebastian Driussi netting the winner in the 94th minute, while Federico Bernardeschi and Lorenzo Insigne injected some Italian flavour with a goal each to help Toronto FC defeat the Portland Timbers 3-1.

    The struggling Colorado Rapids will be the more pleased of the two sides after a 1-1 draw against the Colombus Crew, and a first-half double from FC Dallas' Jesus Ferreira was the catalyst in a 4-1 victory against the San Jose Earthquakes.

    CF Montreal's Romell Quioto scored a penalty and missed a penalty in a 3-2 win against the Houston Dynamo to strengthen their second-placed position in the East, and a four-goal first half from Los Angeles Galaxy – including a goal and an assist for Chicharito – was more than enough to prevail 5-2 against the Vancouver Whitecaps.

  • Simone Inzaghi not satisfied with Inter's last-minute winner against newly promoted Lecce Simone Inzaghi not satisfied with Inter's last-minute winner against newly promoted Lecce

    Inter boss Simone Inzaghi was not pleased with his side's performance in their 2-1 win away from home against Lecce, saying a team with title aspirations can not be relying on a 94th-minute winner.

    The Italian giants – who had the best goal difference in Serie A last season (plus 52) – opened the scoring just 81 seconds in, when loan signing Romelu Lukaku headed home Matteo Darmian's cross from point-blank range.

    Inter controlled 70 per cent of the possession in the first half and appeared good value for their lead, but the entire complexion of the contest changed two minutes into the second half when Assan Ceesay tucked home his left-foot finish low and hard across Inter goalkeeper Samir Handanovic after a slick counter-attack.

    The 1-1 score would hold until the game's dying moments, when an Inter corner found Lautaro Martinez's head, who flicked it on for substitute defender Denzel Dumfries to force home at the back post.

    Speaking to DAZN after the win, Inzaghi said there were positives to look at, but ultimately his side needs to be more emphatic against a newly promoted team playing their first Serie A game in seven years.

    "A team like ours cannot win these games [in stoppage time]," he said. "We put a lot of heart on the pitch because we won in the 94th minute, but we have to analyse the game. 

    "I am fortunate to have strikers who can play together like [Edin] Dzeko and Lukaku who allow us to play directly, especially on a pitch that was not in great shape at the end, with the midfielders coming in behind them. It is an option that will also be seen in the future.

    "We had an excellent half hour, then we got nervous, losing the measures and conceding the equal goal. We could have scored the double before, but a team like this can't suffer so much, and you can't wait until the last moments to win."

    When probed further about Lukaku, Inzaghi added: "Lukaku? I am happy, he is working hard, he is back and has a great desire and availability. 

    "He can improve like everyone else, but he works like everyone else. He is a driver and he will score a lot of goals from here."

© 2022 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.