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Newz Forum: SOCCER: Rangers clinch Bank of Scotland Scottish Premier League title

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posted on May, 22 2005 @ 04:58 PM
Rangers on Sunday won the Bank Scotland Scottish Premier in the final two minutes of the entire season as Motherwell came from behind to defeat Celtic 2-1 while Alex McLeish's men won 1-0 at Hibernian

The Hoops knew that three points at Fir Park would secure a fourth title in five years under Martin O'Neill irrespective of events at Easter Road. And they looked all but certain to do that when Chris Sutton broke the deadlock on 29 minutes, reacting first in a crowded penalty area after Gordon Marshall spilled Alan Thompson's cross.

The 'Gers finally edged ahead in the 59th minute, Nacho Novo driving a cross-shot home via Gary Caldwell after good work from Thomas Buffel, but it did not look like being enough with Celtic in control. Terry Butcher's men continued to press, however, and the Hoops allowed themselves to be pushed back as the clock ticked down.

And the reigning champions were punished with two minutes of normal time remaining when Scott McDonald hooked the ball over his shoulder and into the top-right corner of Robert Douglas' net from 12 yards. That goal put Rangers on course for the title, forcing Celtic forward and Australian striker McDonald exploited their desperation by counterattacking and chipping Douglas in injury time to secure victory. The full-time whistle went at Easter Road seconds later, confirming Rangers' win, and Celtic were unable to fight back in the time remaining meaning that the championship heads to Ibrox.

Aberdeen went into the final day of the season against Hearts knowing that there was still a slim chance of nicking third place from Hibs providing both Edinburgh clubs lost – and by a combined margin of six or more goals. Jimmy Calderwood's men did their best to fulfil their part of the bargain, defeating the managerless Jambos 2-0. Richie Byrne opened the scoring on the stroke of half-time and Derek Adams doubled the advantage within two minutes of the re-start.

But it was not enough to secure an overdue return to European football for the Pittodrie club, who will nevertheless consider the 2004/5 campaign a successful one after flirting with relegation last season.


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