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The BBC's David Begg
"Celtic were too little too late"
 real 28k

Saturday, 22 April, 2000, 16:04 GMT 17:04 UK
Rangers handed Scottish crown

Celtic were unable to prevent Rangers winning the title
Celtic 1-1 Hibernian

Rangers have won the Scottish Premiership title - their 11th league crown in a remarkable 12-year spell.

The Ibrox team were not even playing on Saturday, but they were still confirmed as champions after their arch rivals Celtic failed to beat Hibernian.

Rangers can now celebrate yet another trophy when they take on St Johnstone in Perth.

With Rangers 18 points ahead at the start of the day and just six games left, only a home win for Celtic could have prevented Rangers securing the title.

Parkhead silenced

But Hibernian settled the issue when they went 1-0 ahead in the 31st minute through Stuart Lovell.

With Celtic's porous defence again exposed, Paul Lovering's deep cross from the left caused big problems in the box and Lovell stooped to score with a close-range header.



Stuart Lovell put Hibs into the lead
Celtic desperately battled back in the second half as they tried to delay their neighbours' big party.

And lingering hopes that Rangers might have to hang on for another day were revived after 79 minutes when an individual strike from French defender Stephane Mahe made it 1-1.

Celtic needed another goal, but as the fans resigned themselves to their fate, so too did the players and they created nothing of note after Mahe's late lifeline.

Rangers manager Dick Advocaat said: "I'm delighted to have won the title. It has not been easy, but we have done it again.

"The expectations of the fans, the media and the chairman David Murray have been huge so the players and myself are pleased to have done it for them."

Strength in depth

Celtic were missing the likes of Mark Viduka, Jackie McNamara, Alan Stubbs and Henrik Larsson against Hibernian in a match they never looked like winning from first to last.



Kenny Dalglish knows Celtic are still well off the pace
Director of football Kenny Dalglish paid tribute to Rangers after the draw handed them the title.

"Although Rangers have been awarded the title today they have not won it today," he said. "Any team which only loses one game during the season is going to be unlucky not to win the title.

"It's unfortunate for us at the moment that we've got nine or 10 players at least out which means we're putting square pegs into round holes.

"I don't think it's anything new that our squad is not strong enough at the moment even though there are not too many sides which would cope with the injuries we have.

"If we can get the best 11 players on the pitch I don't think we would be far away from achieving many things, but there are not many times that happens at any club.

"That's why it's important to have sufficient strength in depth. There are some right good players at this club and there is a nucleus there.

"A new coach will come in and will watch videos and so on meaning the decision about who plays and who doesn't will be dictated by how they perform on the pitch."

Teams:

Celtic: Gould, Riseth, Mjallby, Mahe, Healy, Lambert, Petrov, Berkovic, Blinker, Burchill, Moravcik.
Subs: Kerr, Crainey, Kennedy, Petta, de Ornelas.

Hibernian: Colgan, Smith, Jack, Hughes, Dennis, Lovering, Lovell, Latapy, Brebner, K. Miller, Lehmann.
Subs: Gottskalksson, McGinlay, Hartley, Bannerman, Jean.

Referee: John Rowbotham (Scotland)

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See also:

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Links to other Scottish Premier stories are at the foot of the page.