Mexican side pledge allegiance to Celtic in bizarre partnership

In a week where Celtic made certain their links to feeder clubs was profound via the newfound Colts residence, another green and white side – this time from North America – have made their brotherhood to the Hoops’ publicly known, with Santos Laguna’s Martin Hollaender dubbing Celtic as Laguna’s “big brother” following a recent visit from staff.

CEO Martin spoke to The Daily Record about how he could talk about Celtic for 24 hours, following the unlikely formation of the ‘Green and Blanco Alliance’; in which both teams have been committed to the partnership. Santos Laguna, who play in the topically-named 30,000 capacity Corona Stadium in Torreon, don the famous green and white across the Atlantic border – in reference to their superior colour sakes in Glasgow.

They formed alliance that was so strong that staff from the Liga MX side actually travelled over to Scotland as part of the alliance – and have been successful ever since, winning three titles in the years since it was formed. Amazingly (and yet hilariously), former theRangers boss Pedro Caixinha has masterminded them to one of said titles, in which he featured in a video congratulating ‘his Celtic brothers’ on a title victory – something which surely won’t have gone down well at Ibrox.

Yet Hollaender, who took his role at Laguernos in 2013, suggests that Santos owe everything to Celtic, given owner Alejandro Irragorri’s relationship with Peter Lawwell doing them a whole lot of good.

We learned a lot. They opened the door to us in Europe and helped us create relationships and learn best practices.

Speaking to Sky Sports, he said: “This alliance was quite deep. We sent employees to live in Scotland for up to nine months. Even though it is not the largest league in the world, Celtic is a very well-run club with best practices in a lot of areas. So we sent our employees over there, more as a secondment. A lot of clubs talk about alliances with Real Madrid and  Barcelona and they go once a year to take a picture with the president and that is basically it.

Green Brigade banner – showing the identity that amazed Santos Laguna

“It is not only that Celtic and Santos share colours, we found a really big brother in Celtic. Our gratitude to Celtic is endless. I could talk about Celtic for 24 hours. Celtic are as prepared as the best Premier League teams. It is just the market that does not support that, income wise. The passion of their fans. We learned a lot. They opened the door to us in Europe and helped us create relationships and learn best practices.”

It isn’t every day a Scottish team can claim they have helped a first division side in a country 20x the size of Scotland win a title. Fortunately, our great club can. Perhaps we should start returning the favour and supporting Santos…

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