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Sunday 1st June 2008

Season review 2000/01

The new 12-team SPL was dominated by Celtic, who were worthy champions under new boss Martin O'Neill

This season saw the league expand to 12 teams which was a decision that formed part of the settlement agreement that was reached by the clubs when they decided to breakaway from the SFL. The league 'split' was also introduced for the first time to add another dimension to the competition.

There was continued success for the future of Scottish Football with the numbers of young Scots coming through the ranks.  The number of home grown young players breaking through into the SPL was already up by 10% since the league's inception.

After the disappointment of the previous two seasons, Celtic appointed Martin O'Neill as manager, tempting the Irishman to the SPL from Leicester City who at the time were playing in the FA Premier League.

The Irishman's influence was astonishing and Celtic won the Bank of Scotland Premierleague title in his first season. Celtic's success was added to by winning the domestic treble. Celtic, under Martin O'Neill, went from strength to strength, introducing big name signings such as Neil Lennon, Chris Sutton and Alan Thompson.

Across the river, Glasgow Rangers signed Tore Andre Flo from Chelsea for a record breaking £12m.  The Norwegian became and remains to this day the most expensive signing ever in Scottish Football.

While the title was changing hands there was a tense relegation battle between Dundee United and St. Mirren at the bottom of the table. In the middle, the value of the split was illustrated with competition for a top six finish, not to mention a sustained push from Hibernian for third place and qualification for Europe.  Kilmarnock also secured a UEFA Cup spot and a place in the CIS Cup Final.

Dundee enjoyed a season of moderate success under the stylish Ivano Bonetti.  He enticed a a number of high quality foreign imports into the SPL, such as George Nemsadze and World Cup star Claudio Caniggia, who both made impressive impacts during the season, helping Dundee to an admirable 6th position.

Robbie Neilson, Kevin McNaughton, Stephen Pearson, Steven Hammell and Paul DiGiacomo were just some of the bright prospects making their mark on the SPL.

Awards
Bank of Scotland Premierleague Champions: Celtic
Tennent's Scottish Cup Winners: Celtic
CIS Insurance Cup Winners: Celtic
SPFA Player of the Year: Henrik Larsson
SPFA Young Player of the Year: Stilian Petrov
SFWA Player of the Year: Henrik Larsson

Qualification for Europe

Celtic
Rangers
Hibernian
Kilmarnock