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Season review: Scotland

Published: Thursday 20 May 2010, 12.43CET
Money was tight yet Walter Smith still led Rangers FC to a league and League Cup double while his old club Dundee United FC celebrated their centenary by winning the Scottish Cup.
by Alex O'Henley
from Glasgow
Season review: Scotland
Rangers celebrate winning the Scottish title ©Getty Images
Published: Thursday 20 May 2010, 12.43CET

Season review: Scotland

Money was tight yet Walter Smith still led Rangers FC to a league and League Cup double while his old club Dundee United FC celebrated their centenary by winning the Scottish Cup.

Against a backdrop of financial restrictions – Maurice Edu was Rangers FC's last purchase, arriving in August 2008 – and continued uncertainty over future ownership of the club, Walter Smith steered the Light Blues to a second successive title, his ninth championship in two spells in charge. The dogged resilience which has to come to characterise Smith's side was best illustrated when nine-man Rangers saw off the threat of Saint Mirren FC in extra-time during the Scottish League Cup final to seal a double of sorts for the Ibrox club.

Champions: Rangers FC
With a new manager at the helm rivals Celtic FC were expected to put in a sustained challenge for the title but Tony Mowbray's side could not match the consistency of Rangers, who hit a purple patch during December, scoring 26 goals in six consecutive victories. Indeed, Rangers only suffered three defeats – away to Aberdeen FC, Saint Johnstone FC and Celtic – during the entire campaign and the club's 53rd championship was clinched with three games to spare on 25 April.

Cup final: Ross County FC 0-3 Dundee United FC
The Tangerines celebrated their centenary season with a second Scottish Cup success as they saw off a plucky first division outfit who had knocked out Celtic and Hibernian FC in previous rounds. David Goodwillie broke the deadlock just after the hour with an exquisite chip from 30 metres before man of the match Craig Conway sealed victory with a late double. Having also finished third, it marks United's most successful season since the heady days of Jim McLean in the 1980s.

European places*
Rangers FC – UEFA Champions League group stage
Celtic FC – UEFA Champions League third qualifying round
Dundee United FC – UEFA Europa League play-off
Hibernian FC – UEFA Europa League third qualifying round
Motherwell FC – UEFA Europa League second qualifying round
*Subject to final confirmation from UEFA

Player of the Year: Steven Davis (Rangers FC)
The Northern Ireland international may only have scored four goals but whether operating on the right side of midfield or his preferred central role the 25-year-old former Aston Villa FC man was the driving force behind Rangers' success this season.

One to watch: Danny Wilson (Rangers FC)
After just 14 games in his maiden season, Scotland's Young Player of the Year is poised for a glamour move to the English Premier League. The centre-back, 18, proved to an able deputy for Madjid Bougherra when the Algerian was missing through injury or international duties, and has been tipped as a future Scotland international.

Surprise package: Saint Johnstone FC
Tipped as relegation strugglers at the beginning of the season, Derek MacInnes's side finished comfortably in eighth position on 47 points, the highlight of their campaign a 4-1 victory over champions-elect Rangers on 30 March. The experience of former Chelsea FC players Jody Morris and Michael Duberry was vital and the retention of their services could be the key to the Perth side's survival hopes next term.

Leading scorer: Kris Boyd, Rangers FC (23)

Relegated: Falkirk FC

Promoted: Inverness Caledonian Thistle FC

Number: 40
David Weir turned forty the day after the final game of the season against Motherwell having played every minute of Rangers' league campaign.

Quote
"You always feel grateful for the fact you've won a trophy and you are in this position, as Rangers teams are a lot of the time. But this one is maybe a little bit different from the others we have had because of the circumstances surrounding the club and the difficulties we have faced. You enjoy anything you win but this one is a wee bit special."
Walter Smith, Rangers manager

Last updated: 01/06/10 19.05CET

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