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Last Updated: Monday, 26 May, 2003, 00:21 GMT 01:21 UK
Rangers crowned SPL champions
Rangers manager Alex McLeish kisses the Scottish Premier League trophy after his side claimed the title after a 6-1 win against Dunfermline
Rangers boss McLeish enjoys his side's SPL title win
Rangers claimed the Scottish Premier League title ahead of Old Firm rivals Celtic after a captivating last day of action.

The two teams both had a chance of winning the championship with Rangers entertaining Dunfermline and Celtic at Kilmarnock.

Rangers won 6-1 while Celtic's 4-0 win was not enough for manager Martin O'Neill's side.

"It feels absolutely wonderful," said Rangers manager Alex McLeish.

"But the dividing line between success and failure is so thin. One minute we looked out of it but then I was told it was over at Rugby Park it was brilliant.

"I don't think you can be too presumptuous or count your chickens.

"It was important we kept focused and these players have exceeded my expectations."

1503: Mols puts Rangers ahead
1511: Dunfermline level at Rangers
1516: Caniggia puts Rangers back in front while Sutton scores for Celtic
1530: Arveladze heads in for Rangers
1543: Suttons scores his second for the Bhoys
1614: Alan Thompson's penalty has Celtic in line for the title
1623: De Boer puts Rangers 4-1 up
1626: Steven Thompson scores Rangers' 100th goal of the season
1640: Alan Thompson blazes a penalty over
1643: Petrov puts Celtic 4-0 up
1651: Arteta's penalty gives Rangers the title

"What a finish?" added Rangers keeper Stefan Klos. "It's a day to remember."

Rangers and Celtic were level on points going into the final game of the SPL season and separated only by Rangers having scored 95 goals to Celtic's 94.

It took Rangers just three minutes to score with Michael Mols netting to have the Ibrox faithful jumping for joy.

But a Dunfermline equaliser from Jason Dair quietened down the crowd before Claudio Caniggia restored Rangers' lead.

Almost at the same time, striker Chris Sutton put Celtic 1-0 up at Kilmarnock before Rangers forward Shota Arveladze's header extended his side's advantage.

Sutton kept the hopes of the Bhoys alive with his second as Celtic had a 2-0 lead and Rangers were 3-1 up at half-time.

The tension was rising as the nerves of both sets of fans were tested with their clubs still in with a chance of claiming the SPL title.

An Alan Thompson penalty edged Celtic ahead with their championship rivals at Ibrox being denied a spot-kick.


But a double goal-burst from Ronald de Boer and Steven Thomspon put Rangers firmly back in pole position.

It got worse for the Bhoys as Alan Thompson blazed over a late penalty and Celtic's chances seemed to have gone with it.

Stilian Petrov put Celtic 4-0 up but it was not enough as Mikel Arteta's penalty saw Rangers win 6-1 to emerge champions.

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

Celtic boss Martin O'Neill
"The players are extremely downcast"

Bank of Scotland SPL
FINAL 2002/2003 TABLE
Sun 25 May
Click on a team for full coverage
10Partick T*38-2135
11Dundee U*38-3332
* Bottom six teams when SPL split in April

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