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Sunday 1st June 2008

Season review 2002/03

On an incredible afternoon in May, Rangers pipped Celtic for the title by the narrowest of margins

The 2002/03 season was arguably the most exciting ever and was certainly the closest in recent years with Rangers and Celtic both going into the final game level on points. It was the Rangers fans, however, who went home happy that day after a nail biting finale.

In the final games, Rangers defeated Dunfermline 6-1, their goal tally of 101 goals scored and 28 conceded. Celtic defeated Kilmarnock 4-0; however they had scored 98 and conceded 26, which effectively meant that Rangers won the league title by one goal.

The Championship meant that Rangers have now won a record 50th league title and their third Bank of Scotland Premierleague title.

Celtic could take comfort in the fact that their magnificent run in Europe brought them adulation from across the European footballing fraternity.  The UEFA Cup Final in Seville will live long in the memories of Celtic fans and brought further recognition to the SPL.

The success was not limited to the Old Firm, however, as Hearts made great strides in cementing themselves as the SPL's third force.  Craig Levein led the Edinburgh club into the UEFA Cup with a side containing several young Scottish players.

Debutants Partick Thistle also attracted praise for their hard work and tenacity, which helped ensure their SPL survival.

Despite a disappointing league position Motherwell, under the guidance of Terry Butcher, introduced many young players into the first team squad. Their dedication to youth development was to stand them in good stead for the future.

Elsewhere in the league, young Scottish talent continued to shine through.  Ian Murray impressed, as did Steven Whittaker and David Clarkston who all made a positive impact in 2002-03.

Bank of Scotland Premierleague Champions: Rangers
Tennents Scottish Cup Winners: Rangers
CIS Insurance Cup Winners: Rangers
SPFA Player of the Year: Barry Ferguson
SPFA Young Player of the Year: James McFadden
SFWA Player of the Year: Barry Ferguson

Qualification for Europe