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Saturday, 7 April, 2001, 13:52 GMT 14:52 UK
The games that won the title
Chris Sutton celebrates his debut winner
Chris Sutton celebrates his debut winner
BBC Sport Online's Alasdair Lamont examines the six crucial matches which helped Celtic wrest the Scottish Premier League trophy from the hands of Rangers.

Dundee United 1-2 Celtic (Sunday 30 July)

Martin O'Neill could have asked for an easier start to the SPL campaign than a tricky trip to Tannadice.

The line-up was virtually the same as that which ended the previous season 21 points behind Rangers, with only two new boys on show - Joos Valgaeren and record buy Chris Sutton.

But this display was to set the standard for Celtic's season.

There was little flowing football on show, and certainly no all-out attacking by the visitors, but instead a hard-working, determined performance won the points.

Henrik Larsson started the season as he meant to go on by opening the scoring with a beautifully judged curling shot.

Although United equalised early in the second half, Chris Sutton began to deliver on his 6m price tag with a close-range winner.


Henrik Larsson gets his second of the day
Henrik Larsson gets his second of the day
Celtic 6-2 Rangers (Sunday 27 August)

With 12 points from their opening four games, Celtic were enjoying something of a honeymoon period under Martin O'Neill.

Three goals from Sutton, Stilian Petrov and Paul Lambert in the first 11 minutes made sure that would continue for at least another week.

Rangers did pull a goal back through Claudio Reyna and Rod Wallace had a goal wrongly chopped off for offside, but that was to prove irrelevant.

Henrik Larsson stamped his authority on the game in the second half with two goals either side of a Billy Dodds penalty.

Larsson's first was a goal of quite breath-taking quality and Chris Sutton put the seal on the win with a last-minute strike.

Martin O'Neill continued to insist that there was a long way to go before the Bhoys were up to Rangers' standard, but he could scarcely be heard amidst the Celtic fans' celebrations.


Larsson gets the crucial equaliser
Larsson gets the crucial equaliser
Aberdeen 1-1 Celtic (Sunday 1 October)

Celtic finally lost their unbeaten record at Pittodrie, but Henrik Larsson's 82nd minute equaliser showed the steely nature Martin O'Neill had instilled in his troops.

Celtic under John Barnes and Kenny Dalglish had showed a distinct lack of ability to come from behind in games, but what Celtic now lacked in flair, they made up for in grit.

Robbie Winters put Aberdeen ahead in the first half and the Dons might have added to their lead as the game went on.

But the three-man central defence of Tom Boyd, Joos Valgaeren and Johan Mjallby held firm and Larsson eventually headed the crucial equaliser.

Although the Celtic of last season had slammed an average of five goals a game past Aberdeen, the new shrewd approach kept Celtic clear at the top of the league.


Hibs and Celtic fought out a dour draw
Hibs and Celtic fought out a dour draw
Hibernian 0-0 Celtic (Wednesday 29 November)

Celtic visited second-top Hibernian with reports of a mid-season slump ringing in their ears following their first defeat of the season against Rangers three days earlier.

While this was no great spectacle, it was no disaster either and Celtic might have had all three points had a Mjallby goal not been disallowed somewhat controversially.

Hibs had the better of a match spoiled by the blustery conditions but Celtic stuck to the old adage about grinding out results when not at your best.

The result put them 13 points clear of Rangers, who had games in hand, and marked the end of the nearest Celtic ever came to a slump in the whole season.

A 3-1 home win the following Saturday put them back on a winning run which was not to end until the 1-1 draw with Hibs at Celtic Park at the end of February.


Didier Agathe wheels away in celebration
Didier Agathe wheels away in celebration
Dundee 1-2 Celtic (Sunday 10 December)

An early Stilian Petrov goal only served to spur a rampant Dundee side whose only reward was a Tom Boyd own goal.

In typical championship-winning fashion, Celtic snatched the points with a Didier Agathe goal in the final minute.

Despite being out-played for much of the match, Celtic, with Neil Lennon making his debut, produced a determined performance similar in manner to those so often seen at Filbert Street when O'Neill and Lennon plied their trade at Leicester City.

Agathe showed that if Larsson is the bargain of the last century, then he has a case for at least being nominated for bargain of this season.

That goal was probably worth the nominal fee O'Neill paid for him, but his phenomenal pace and trickery have proved priceless over the course of the season.


Alan Thompson celebrates his Old Firm goal
Alan Thompson celebrates his Old Firm goal
Celtic 1-0 Rangers (Sunday 11 February)

Most people were agreed that if Rangers were to resurrect their title challenge, it had to begin with a victory at Celtic Park.

A midweek victory over their oldest rivals in the CIS Insurance Cup semi-final confirmed the form book pointed to a Celtic win, but since when has the form book counted for anything in these games?

With 18 goals in the previous three Old Firm clashes of the season, it should have been no surprise that this was something of an anti-climax - though it is unlikely the Celtic fans will remember it that way.

In the end, a 17th minute Alan Thompson goal was enough to secure the points and, to all intents and purposes, the league title as well.

Already Martin O'Neill had done something which few of his predecessors could have dreamed of - beating Rangers three times in one season.

The reversal of fortunes in Glasgow was complete.

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See also:

27 Aug 00 |  Scot Prem
Celtic's six of the best
01 Oct 00 |  Scot Prem
Larsson saves Celtic record
29 Nov 00 |  Scot Prem
Stalemate is a blow to top two
10 Dec 00 |  Scot Prem
Last-gasp Celts nick the points
11 Feb 01 |  Scot Prem
Thompson seals fate for Rangers
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