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Last Updated: Sunday, 25 May, 2003, 15:54 GMT 16:54 UK
Rangers win to clinch title
Barry Ferguson holds the SPL trophy aloft
Barry Ferguson holds the SPL trophy aloft
Rangers 6-1 Dunfermline Athletic

An injury-time penalty by Mikel Arteta clinched the SPL title for Rangers in an amazing afternoon at Ibrox.

Rangers were 5-1 up as the match entered the last few minutes, but with Celtic 4-0 up at Rugby Park and still playing, they knew the championship was not yet theirs.

But when Arteta stepped up to slot the ball past Derek Stillie after Neil McCann had been brought down, the Ibrox nerves were finally settled.

Michael Mols had given Rangers the lead, Jason Dair equalised, before Claudio Caniggia, Shota Arveladze, Ronald de Boer and Steven Thompson put Rangers on the road to the title.

Rangers got the early goal that they were looking for when De Boer and Caniggia unlocked the Dunfermline defence and Mols adjusted his feet superbly to direct the ball past Derek Stillie and into the net.

It could and should have been two a minute later when Caniggia delivered for De Boer, but the Dutchman somehow headed past from point-blank range.

But in 11 minutes, Dunfermline were level. Craig Brewster laid the ball into the path of Dair who crashed a 25-yard drive past the despairing dive of Stefan Klos.

Five minutes later, Rangers regained the initiative. Fernando Ricksen refused to give up the chase on the right and reaped the rewards when he got the benefit of a ricochet in the tackle with Barry Nicholson.

The ball fell kindly to Caniggia who placed the ball past Stillie.

Stillie denied Rangers a third after 24 minutes when Arveladze played in Mols, but this time the keeper got down to beat away the Dutchman's effort.

A minute later, it took a last-ditch challenge from Scott Wilson to halt Mols as he prepared to test Stillie again.

Claudio Caniggia celebrates his goal
Claudio Caniggia celebrates his goal
Rangers finally got the third goal on the half-hour mark when Lorenzo Amoruso managed to keep the ball in before delivering a perfect ball for Arveladze to flick the ball past Stillie with his head.

Stillie kept the score down twice in quick succession, saving from Mols and Amoruso as Rangers looked for more goals.

Stillie's first involvement in the second half was to field an Amoruso free kick after 49 minutes.

Moments later De Boer shot wide from a good position and then Rangers had a claim for a penalty turned down when Arveladze's shot was blocked by Chris McGroarty's elbow.

Amoruso missed a glorious chance to increase Rangers' lead when he blasted the ball over from 10 yards after Stillie was penalised for picking up a passback.

At the other end, Klos produced an amazing flying save from Brewster as Dunfermline caught Rangers on the counter attack.


De Boer made it 4-1 with a superb header in 65 minutes to hand Rangers the initiative in the title race again.

Two minutes later, Thompson squeezed the ball over the line after superb play by Neil McCann on the left.

In 70 minutes Thompson headed just wide as Rangers sought to wrap up the title.

In 89 minutes, Thompson again came within inches of making the title safe for Rangers, but his header came back off the angle of post and bar and landed in the arms of Stillie.

But then came that late penalty and an ice-cool Arteta did the business from the spot.

Rangers: Klos, Ricksen, Moore, Amoruso, Numan, Ferguson, Arteta, Caniggia (McCann 45), de Boer, Mols (Thompson 62), Arveladze.
Subs Not Used: McGregor, Malcolm, McLean.

Booked: Ferguson.

Dunfermline: Stillie, Bullen, MacPherson (Walker 70), Scott Wilson, Grondin (Dempsey 45), Dair, Nicholson, Mason, McGroarty (McGarty 77), Brewster, Crawford.
Subs Not Used: Ruitenbeek, McNicol.

Booked: MacPherson, Scott Wilson, Bullen.

Attendance: 49,731.

Referee: S Dougal (Scotland).

Rangers goalscorer Ronald de Boer
"We deserved it - but I feel sorry for Celtic"

Rangers captain Barry Ferguson
"We have a great fighting spirit"



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23 May 03  |  Scottish Premier
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22 May 03  |  Scottish Premier

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