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Season review: Scotland

Published: Wednesday 29 May 2013, 13.31CET
Neil Lennon joined Celtic FC greats Jock Stein and Billy McNeill as the Northern Irishman became the third man to lift a domestic double as both player and manager at the club.
by Alex O'Henley
from Glasgow
Season review: Scotland
Neil Lennon celebrates winning the league title ©Getty Images
Published: Wednesday 29 May 2013, 13.31CET

Season review: Scotland

Neil Lennon joined Celtic FC greats Jock Stein and Billy McNeill as the Northern Irishman became the third man to lift a domestic double as both player and manager at the club.

Neil Lennon joined Celtic FC greats Jock Stein and Billy McNeill by becoming the third man in the club's history to win a league and cup double as both player and manager. The Northern Irishman also led the Glasgow team to a last-16 place in the UEFA Champions League, the highlight of their European run being a home victory over FC Barcelona the day after the Hoops celebrated their 125th anniversary. The sole blemish came in the Scottish League Cup semi-finals where Celtic fell to eventual winners Saint Mirren FC.

Champions: Celtic FC  
With Rangers FC starting over again in Scottish football's fourth tier, Celtic began the season as outright favourites to claim a 44th championship. The absence of a sustained Rangers challenge, allied to the demands of a successful UEFA Champions League campaign, meant the Hoops could pace themselves on the domestic front. So, while the title was clinched on 21 April with a 4-1 triumph against Inverness Caledonian Thistle FC with four rounds of fixtures remaining, it was achieved with the lowest winning points total in Scottish Premier League history.

Cup final: Hibernian FC 0-3 Celtic FC
Having missed out on a domestic treble after losing to St Mirren in the last four of the League Cup, Celtic were determined to end the term on a high by collecting a record 36th Scottish Cup. A first-half double by Gary Hooper – the Englishman's 30th and 31st goals of the season – together with a second-half strike from Joe Ledley ensured a comfortable victory over Hibernian on 26 May, allowing Lennon to take his place among the club's pantheon of elite managers.

European places*
Celtic FC – UEFA Champions League, second qualifying round
Motherwell FC – UEFA Europa League, third qualifying round
Hibernian FC – UEFA Europa League, second qualifying round
Saint Johnstone FC – UEFA Europa League, second qualifying round

*Subject to final confirmation from UEFA

Player of the year: Leigh Griffiths (Hibernian FC)
"If you had said to me at the start of the season I would get the PFA Young Player of the Year, the Scottish Premier League Player of the Year and now the Football Writers' Player of the Year, I would have snapped your hand off in about eight pieces!" Leigh Griffiths's reaction to receiving a hat-trick of awards showed how much it meant to the on-loan Wolverhampton Wanderers FC striker to net 28 goals for the team he supported as a boy. The highlight was a sumptuous long range free-kick that decided the last Edinburgh derby of the campaign. The only disappointment for Griffiths, 22, was not being able to end Hibs's 112-year wait for Scottish Cup glory.

One to watch: Alex Harris (Hibernian FC)
The 18-year-old burst onto the scene during Hibs's epic 4-3 Scottish Cup semi-final triumph over Falkirk FC. The Easter Road side trailed their first division opponents 3-0 after 30 minutes, but the teenage winger grabbed the game by the scruff of the neck to score early in the second half and inspire the Hibees to a memorable extra-time victory. "He has a burst of pace, he can go by players at will and his range of passing is very, very good for a young player," said Hibs manager Pat Fenlon. "He is a clever footballer. He plays with his head up."

Surprise package: Ross County FC
The Highland club confounded many critics who expected Derek Adams's men to be involved in a relegation fight in their first top-flight season. However, they got off to a good start with a 1-1 opening-day draw with Celtic and never looked back, the pinnacle of their achievements being a memorable 3-2 success against Lennon's team in Dingwall on 9 March. The midfield creativity and goalscoring prowess of captain Richard Brittain, Iain Vigurs and Rocco Quinn were key to securing a fifth-place finish in their maiden SPL campaign. The Staggies only narrowly missed out on a UEFA Europa League berth in the closing fortnight.

Leading scorer: Michael Higdon, Motherwell FC (26)

Relegated: Dundee FC

Promoted: Partick Thistle FC

Number: 3
Neil Lennon became the third man to have won a league and cup double with Celtic as both player and manager, following in the illustrious footsteps of Jock Stein and Billy McNeill.

Quote
"To win the double as a player was great, but to win it as a manager is just fantastic." Celtic boss Lennon revels in leading his charges to league and cup glory

Last updated: 29/05/13 13.35CET

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