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Scotland round-up: Rangers secure landmark title

Published: Sunday 25 May 2003, 23.00CET
Rangers FC deposed Celtic FC as champions to take the title for a record 50th time.

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Published: Sunday 25 May 2003, 23.00CET

Scotland round-up: Rangers secure landmark title

Rangers FC deposed Celtic FC as champions to take the title for a record 50th time.

Rangers FC deposed Celtic FC as Scottish Premier League champions by a single goal after a nail-biting final day that saw the Ibrox club become the first European side to win their domestic league 50 times.

Rangers strike first
The Glasgow rivals went into Sunday's games with Rangers ahead of Celtic on goals scored, with points and goal difference level. Celtic, beaten in Wednesday's UEFA Cup final, needed a bigger win at Kilmarnock FC than Rangers could earn at home to Dunfermline Athletic FC, but it was the leaders who struck first with Michael Mols's third-minute goal.

Sutton double
Dunfermline levelled soon after through Lee Dair, but on 15 minutes Claudio Caniggia restored Rangers' advantage, just as Celtic were taking the lead with a Chris Sutton goal. Shota Arveladze soon made it 3-1 to Rangers, but Celtic returned to within a goal of first place when Sutton scored again just before half-time.

Brief Celtic lead
Celtic briefly led the provisional table after Alan Thompson's 54th-minute penalty, but nine minutes later Ronald de Boer scored Rangers' fourth, and it was soon 5-1 through Steven Thompson - his side's 100th league goal this season.

Championship confirmed
Alan Thompson missed a great chance to move Celtic back into range when he struck a late penalty over the bar. With seven minutes of the season left, Stilian Petrov put the Celtic 4-0 ahead - only for Mikel Arteta to convert an added-time penalty that gave Rangers a 6-1 win and the championship on goal difference.

'I am just delighted'
After the game, Rangers manager Alex McLeish, whose team will enter the UEFA Champions League in the third qualifying round, said: "It is a fine line between winning and losing and there was a lot of tension all afternoon but I am just delighted.

'Nothing but praise'
His opposite number, Martin O'Neill said: "I have got nothing but praise for the players and our fans. It has been a monumental effort from them." Celtic, having finished the season trophyless, will go into the Champions League a round earlier than Rangers, who play in Saturday's Scottish Cup final against Dundee FC aiming for a domestic treble.

UEFA Cup place for Hearts
Heart of Midlothian FC secured a UEFA Cup place as they beat Dundee FC 1-0 thanks to a Mark de Vries goal at Dens Park. Dundee will join Hearts in the competition due to their cup final place.

Motherwell celebrate
In Saturday's matches, Motherwell FC, spared relegation by the decision to refuse Falkirk FC promotion, celebrated by beating Livingston FC 6-2, while Aberdeen FC overcame Dundee United FC 2-0 and Hibernian FC lost 3-2 at Partick Thistle FC, ensuring Gerry Collins made a winning start as manager.

Last updated: 26/05/03 9.12CET

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