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Last Updated: Sunday, 22 May, 2005, 15:39 GMT 16:39 UK
McLeish overjoyed after title win
Rangers boss Alex McLeish celebrates with the SPL trophy
Rangers boss Alex McLeish described his team's last-gasp dramatic Scottish Premier League title win as a dream come true for his team.

Motherwell scored two late goals to beat Celtic - and hand the title to Rangers, who defeated Hibernian.

"We always dreamed that something like this might happen," said McLeish.

"It has been a phenomenal finish to the season in general and for us to clinch the title the way we did - we certainly know how to put ourselves through it."

McLeish added: "When it sinks in I think I'll probably reflect and say it is the highlight of my career.

"We have come a long way since August when we were battered by the press and the spirit of the players has been phenomenal.

"I really feel this is a slap in the face for our critics, although they will probably find something else to hit us with over the next few days."

And McLeish said he did not need to defend his status as Rangers manager after a season in which the press have repeatedly questioned his position.

"Chairman David Murray is perfectly happy with the job I am doing and I don't know why the press should start asking things about it," said McLeish.

Alex McLeish salutes the fans after winning the SPL title
To lift the trophy as the captain is a dream come true
Fernando Ricksen

"I have nothing to prove - over the last few years I have inherited a quality side, won things with them and now I am rebuilding, which is not an overnight job.

"I'm not a magician but I have proved that I am a capable manager."

McLeish also mentioned the club's support and thanked them for their role in the team's triumph.

"I've got to pay tribute to the Rangers fans over the season," he added.

"They have given terrific support right through the season and the roar at the end today sent a shiver through my body like never before."

Rangers skipper Fernando Ricksen said his team deserved to win the title.

"I think overall we showed we were the best team," said Ricksen.

"I read the papers before the match and I think they summed it up - first is everything and second is nothing.

"We were never worried about Celtic because we knew what we had to do. We knew Motherwell could win - it is hard to go there and I'm glad they did so well against Celtic.

"And to now lift the trophy as the captain is a dream come true."

Midfielder Barry Ferguson - who returned to the club in the January transfer window after 18 months in England with Blackburn - said he felt sorry for Celtic.

"I have got a lot of thoughts for Celtic, who are a great team," said Ferguson. "Many of us thought they would win easily.

"I left for 18 months and this - winning the title - is what I came back for."

Fellow midfielder Alex Rae was delighted to end his first season at the club as a title winner.

"This is an unbelievable feeling. We have managed to win a double and silence a lot of critics," said Rae.

"There is a lot of feeling in this squad and we are absolutely over the moon.

"I did say there is not much between us and Celtic and thankfully we have overcome the doubters."




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News conference: Rangers boss Alex McLeish





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