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Sunday 1st June 2008

Season review 1998/99

The 1998-99 season witnessed the birth of the SPL and a new chapter in Scottish football began

The 1998-99 season witnessed the birth of the SPL and a new chapter in Scottish football began.

The first season brought some important improvements. More people attended games than before, SPL matches were broadcast to over 120 countries world-wide and more money was invested in youth development than ever before.

The initial 10 teams in the SPL kicked off the season on August 1/2, 1998. Eoin Jess scored the first ever goal in the SPL, helping Aberdeen to a 2-0 win over Dundee at Dens Park. At Celtic Park, Dunfermline were comprehensively beaten by a Celtic side in goal scoring mood. Craig Burley scored three, the first hat-trick in the SPL, in a 5-0 win. 

Henrik Larsson took a giant step on his way to achieving his legendary status after finishing top goal scorer this season, with an amazing 29 league goals.

Elsewhere, Sandy Clark's St Johnstone side surprised everybody when on the last day of the season a win over Dundee gave them the third spot, a single point ahead of Kilmarnock. It was the end of a fantastic season for the Perth side. 

Despite the disappointment of missing out on third spot, Kilmarnock were awarded a UEFA Cup place through the fair play league. The award meant that four SPL side's represented Scotland in Europe in season 1999-2000. 

On May 9, 1999 Rangers sealed the SPL championship and SPL Chairman Robert Wilson presented Rangers captain Lorenzo Amoruso with the first ever Bank of Scotland Premierleague trophy. 

Amoruso entered the record books and became the first foreign player to captain Rangers to Scotland's top domestic honour. The Rangers skipper would proceed to lift all three domestic trophies this season and brought Rangers their 6th treble in 126 years.

Off the park, the 1998-99 season witnessed a new development in Scottish football. For the first time in Scotland the league took a three week break during January. It was generally well received by players, managers and chairmen and also attracted envious glances from down south. Most clubs took the time off to re-charge their batteries with training sessions in warmer climates. 

One aim of the SPL was to help develop more young Scottish players and during this season there were notably improvements. Jamie McAllister and Darren Young at Aberdeen, Barry Ferguson at Rangers all began to establish themselves at their respective clubs.

Bank of Scotland Premierleague Champions: Rangers
Tennent's Scottish Cup Winners: Rangers
League Cup Winners: Rangers
SPFA Player of the Year: Henrik Larsson
SPFA Young Player of the Year: Barry Ferguson
SFWA Player of the Year: Henrik Larsson

European Qualification
St Johnstone