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29th Dec 2018

WATCH: Rangers and Celtic contest the greatest drop ball in years

A drop ball is now a rare occurrence in football, so it was with welcome eyes that we witnessed a proper one during the Old Firm derby on Saturday.

Wayne Farry

drop ball

Drop balls used to be a common occurrence in football

The drop ball is a method of restarting a match which ensures that no advantage is handed to either side. The referee stands holding the ball, with a player from each competing side either side of him facing each other. The referee then drops the ball (hence the name) and the two plays go for the ball.

In days gone by they were a joy to watch, mainly because it was extremely common for the players in question to aim more each other than the ball, and create a massively chaotic and fun spectacle as a result.

These days they don’t happen so much, with one team more often than not agreeing to let the other side kick it back to them, restarting play that way.

Once exciting to watch, they are now just the football equivalent of two gentlemen shaking hands. And no one wants to watch that.

As such, it was with no little joy that we watched Rangers’ Scott Arfield and Celtic’s Scott Brown contest one today, and as is usually the case in Old Firm derbies, it was both entertaining and funny in equal measure.

As referee John Beaton held the ball aloft, the opposing players assumed stances more akin to sumo wrestlers preparing to remove each other from the dohyō. The anticipation was palpable.

And things did not disappoint when the ball dropped either, as Arfield and Brown swung their respective feet with gay abandon but not so subtly trying to kick each other, before eventually Rangers regained the ball.

A lovely throwback we want to see much more of.