Betis vs Celtic: History will be made one way or another

Real Betis green and white hoops
Real Betis wearing green and white hoops in homage to Celtic

The story around Celtic's first fixture of this season's Europa League Group Stages could be the plot of a Hollywood movie.

Ange Postecoglou leads his men back to Seville, a city Celtic fans will have forever etched in their memory as the location of the 2003 UEFA Cup Final. Lining up against them on this occasion will be a team, in Real Betis, who owe their famous green and white colours to Celtic themselves.

Manuel Asensio Ramos, of the club's founders, spent some time studying in Dumfries as a young man at the start of the 20th century. During his trip would often travel to Glasgow, where he succumbed to the fate of many before and after him, and fell in love with Celtic.

Back in Andalusia, not long after Real Betis were founded in 1908, the club needed new strips and Ramos, now coach at Betis, arranged for green and white fabric to be sent to Seville to replace the existing blue and white material that Betis donned in their early years.

In homage to Celtic, Betis' new kit was born - as they opted for green and white vertical stripes - one that is internationally recognised to this day.

The parallels between the two clubs do not end with similar kits however; 'Los Verdiblancos' (The Green-and-Whites) have one of the most passionate supports in Europe and their home ground, Estadio Benito Villamarín, is a raucous 60,000-seater stadium. Sound familiar?

While domestic success has not come as easily to Betis - given the powerhouses of Barcelona, Real Madrid and Atletico Madrid - in another incredible link to Celtic's own heritage, Betis' only league triumph came in the 1934/5 season, when the Irish duo of Patrick O’Connell (manager) and Mike Finn (leading goalscorer) led the team to the La Liga title.

Astonishingly, the two teams have never met until now, but in a cruel twist of fate served by COVID-19, Celtic fans will not be allowed inside a stadium that will be at 60% capacity, to commemorate the occasion.

History lessons and romantic links aside, Ange Postecoglou has a job to do in Seville that has never been accomplished by a Celtic manager; win on Spanish soil.

The final plot twist being that he will try to achieve this without his captain and top goalscorer. As always though, the big Australian is taking it all in his stride as he himself prepares to lead a team out in the Group Stages of a European competition for the first time:

"We've been in a constant state of flux and not been able to settle. I see that as an opportunity for us to build resilience through this period... I don't want us to be fearful or hesitant. To truly take in an experience, I've always felt that you need to give all of yourself and believe in something, and usually you come away having lived that experience to its fullest."

What do you think the result will be tonight? Let us know in the comments below.