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Saturday, May 9, 1998 Published at 17:49 GMT 18:49 UK



Sport: Football

Celtic get by with a little help from their Scandinavians
image: [ Wim Jansen and Murdo McLeod celebrate ending Rangers dominance ]
Wim Jansen and Murdo McLeod celebrate ending Rangers dominance

Celtic have won the Scottish football's Premier Division with a 2-0 victory over St Johnstone at Parkhead, but there were some fraught nerves on the way.


Celtic Manager Wim Jansen: "It's perfect" (41'')
Henrik Larsson and Harold Brattbakk were the goalscorers on a day when Celtic had to win to stop Rangers clinching 10 titles in a row.

Rangers did what they had to, beating Dundee United 2-1 with goals from Brian Laudrup and Jorg Albertz, but they were always relying on St Johnstone doing them a favour and that looked unlikely from the third minute of both games.

That was all the time it took for Larsson to score Celtic's first.


[ image: Henrik Larsson set the ball rolling by scoring after 3 minutes]
Henrik Larsson set the ball rolling by scoring after 3 minutes
Paul Lambert released the Swede and he raced away to drive an unstoppable shot into the corner from 20 yards.

It was the 19th goal of the season from the former Feyenoord star, who cost £650,000 last summer.

At Tannadice, Laudrup scored Rangers' first on 31 minutes and when Albertz converted a penalty on 53 there were some nervous fans tuned to radios inside Celtic Park.


Ron Jones reports from the Dundee United v Rangers game at Tannadice (53")
But the news soon got better, starting with a Lars Zetterlund goal for Dundee United to give them hope that Rangers would drop points.

Then substitute Brattbakk came on to score the goal that made sure after 72 minutes.

The £2.2m signing proved to be an unlikely hero as the Bell's Scottish League title returned to the Bhoys for the first time since 1988.

His form had dipped so much since New Year he last appeared in the Scottish Cup semi-final defeat by Rangers last month.


[ image: Goalkeeper Jonathan Gould has a firm grip on the championship trophy]
Goalkeeper Jonathan Gould has a firm grip on the championship trophy
Now he will go down in the club's folklore.

After they conceded a late goal last week when given the chance to win the title, this goal gave Celtic the cushion they needed, and from then they were never seriously troubled.

Until then, Celtic were nervous and hesitant as they tried to build on their opening goal.

Some fans spilled onto the pitch at the end of the match and were roundly booed by the majority of the other supporters.

Jansen's future uncertain

Celtic will now have a chance of qualifying for next year's Champions' league but whether their successful manager will be with them is unclear.

Wim Jansen refused to be drawn on the question.

Jansen has a get-out clause in his contract enabling him to leave in the summer after just one season as head coach at Parkhead.

He is expected to make a decision next week about his future and will have talks with managing director Fergus McCann.

Jansen revealed: "I have made a decision in my own mind about what I want to do.

"However I don't want to comment any more as there are other people I need to speak to first on that matter."

The signals coming out of the buoyant club suggest that Jansen will pursue his career elsewhere in August.

For the moment, however, he is basking in the adulation that comes with ending Rangers' domination of the Scottish soccer scene.


[ image: Victory was sweet for Tom Boyd - one of Celtic's longest serving players]
Victory was sweet for Tom Boyd - one of Celtic's longest serving players
Skipper Tom Boyd was presented with the championship trophy and Jansen could hardly be heard at his news conference because of all the celebrations going on in the background.

He said: "It was a very hard game and it has been a very hard season. This has got to be one of the highlights of my career as a coach and something I will always remember.

"I made a very late start with the club in the summer and couldn't forecast what would happen.

"It hasn't been an easy season and it has come down to the last game. But it is over now and we are champions and that is something we can be proud of."


Rangers player Richard Gough: "Very disappointing" (2'54'')
Celtic, in fact, lost their first two league games and local radio stations were bombarded with calls, saying Jansen should go.

Now the former coach of Japanese league side Sanfrecce has claimed the biggest prize in Scottish football.

Boyd led the players onto the podium for the presentation and they remained on the pitch after a lap of honour for 35 minutes.

Boyd took the microphone and told the fans: "I would just like to thank you all for your support. We are going to celebrate in style tonight."

The fans had already made it clear what they thought.

"Cheerio, 10 in a row," 50,000 voices cried in unison after Brattbakk's shot found the net.






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