Skip to content

How Celtic Inspired the Green & White of Real Betis

It’s a well-told story known amongst supporters of both Celtic and Real Betis. but perhaps not the footballing world at large. So, let’s try and change that, shall we?

With over 1200 miles in between Celtic Park and the Estadio Benito Villamarin the friendship of Celtic and Real Betis you would probably think the two clubs sharing the same colour scheme would be pure coincidence? Think again.

The connection goes all the way back to the Seville-based side’s early days. One of the club’s founders, Manuel Asensio Ramos, was studying in Dumfries, Scotland where he first laid eyes upon the famous green and white hoops. Those same green and white hoops that remain synonymous with the club to this very day

Celtic proudly proclaim to be ‘A Club Open To All’ and the fans embody that. Ramos became enamoured with the club and it’s a love he brought back home to Spain with him and one that spread to family and friends and now to the fans of the club he helped form. He’d often make the 70 mile round trip from Dumfries to Glasgow on trips with his school where presumably the love first began for the young Spaniard.

He studied at St Joseph’s Boarding School, which also shares links to Celtic because of Brother Walfrid’s involvement in its formation in 1875. Some years later Brother Walfrid would form Celtic Football Club in 1887 with the mission to ease poverty in the East End of Glasgow by raising money for the charity he created called the Poor Children’s Dinner Table.

Celtic’s values carry on today with a large left-leaning socialist fanbase, carrying on the legacy of its founder, advocating for the less fortunate – even on an official club level with the Celtic Foundation which has an excellent reputation as a charitable organisation in the Glasgow area. 

Real Betis fans also uphold a reputation as a left wing club with a heavily working-class support, which is interesting, considering, at the time of formation the then King of Spain, Alfonso XII pledged his support to the club. In 1911 came the decision of Betis’ owners, spearheaded by Manuel to change the colours of the strip from blue to green and white stripes, which is what Celtic initially wore before changing to the now famous hoops in 1903.

The change made and still makes plenty of sense when you realise that the flag of Andalusia comprises three equal horizontal stripes, coloured green, white and green respectively; with the coat of arms superimposed on the middle stripe. From my research there seems to be no specific reason Real Betis initially played in blue for any other reason than maybe it was just what was available.

One can only guess but perhaps Celtic reminded him of home and the famous coat of arms. The connection has lasted up to the present day with fans of both clubs acknowledging their shared past and connection, a connection that will no doubt endure. In 2017 Real Betis paid homage to their kit’s Glasgow roots with a unique hooped kit to mark Andalusian Day. A day of celebration in the region voting to become an autonomous community of Spain in 1980. 

The Hoops and Verdiblancos (The Green and Whites) have only met twice in competitive fixtures which is a surprise considering the shared history of the clubs. The two were drawn in the group stage in the 2021-2022 season. 

A competitive game where Celtic dominated in parts but goals from Juan Miranda, Borja Iglesias and a brace from Juanmi secured the win in a 4-3 goal thriller at the Estadio Benito Villamarin in the home fixture. Albian Ajeti, Anthony Ralston and Josip Juranovic’s goals ended up as nothing more but consolations as Betis made a magnificent comeback. The hosts showed no ambition of returning Celtic’s century old gift. 

In the return fixture at Celtic Park the Hoops ran away with the three points thanks to a late spot kick from David Turnbull in a 3-2 win, this time capitalising on the spells of domination. Borja Iglesias and Juanmi were the goalscorers for the visitors.

However, it was all in vain as the Verdiblancos qualified to the knockout rounds and Celtic were relegated to the newly created UEFA Conference League where they got eliminated by Norway’s Bodø/Glimt after losing 5-1 on aggregate in the Round of 32.

Despite a disappointing European campaign Celtic would win the domestic double with Ange Postecoglou at the helm and once again assert their dominance over their West End rivals Rangers, beating them in the final of the Scottish League Cup and winning the league with ease.

The season after Ange and his players would go one better and win their 8th domestic treble placing them one behind ahead of their rivals and achieving a new world record. Considering the dominance of Celtic in Scotland in recent years I don’t think it would surprise many to see them win more. 

Real Betis would see their Europa League campaign come to a bitterly disappointing end in the Round of 16 as they lost 3-2 on aggregate to eventual winners of the tournament Eintracht Frankfurt. However they’d win their first major trophy since 2005 and just their 3rd cup in the club’s history beating Valencia on penalties after a cagey 1-1. 

When Betis fans recently made the trip Glasgow for their clash with Celtic’s fierce rivals Rangers in the Europa League some of their fans made their way to the East End of town for a tour and some pre-match drinks at the ever-iconic Celtic Park, with many taking to social media to proudly post their pints which had the Real Betis logo in the foam.

Their hosts would not extend that same welcome at Ibrox as they edged out a 1-0 win sealed by Rangers’ Abdallah Sima after a close game full of chances for both sides. Real Betis will host Rangers in the return fixture on 14th December 2023 at the Estadio Benito Villamarin. Real Betis remain the bookies favourites to top Group C in a group also featuring Sparta Prague and Aris Limassol. 

A friendship lasting over a century. It’s hard not to be romantic about it. As an avid follower of Celtic I often root for Real Betis and will continue to. Two clubs with a difference in successes on the pitch but two clubs with similar impact off it. I’d have to say my favourite Real Betis kit is the 95/97 home with the Kelia sponsor and beautiful collar. Hector Bellerin did it lots of justice sporting it at the end of the 2021/22 season.

It’s much harder to narrow down a favourite Celtic shirt because of my personal connection with them but hard pressed I’d have to opt for the 1999-2000 home as it’ll always remind me of the iconic Henrik Larsson lob in the 6-2 win over Rangers at Celtic Park. 

Are there any Real Betis or Celtic kits you’d want to own?