As Celtic’s title party has been postponed for a few days, we look at what should Celtic have won from 2001-2011.
With the number of tales of illegalities at Ibrox increasing by the minute, I’m still reluctant to even try to explain what Rangers have done. However, I feel now is the perfect time to look back and examine what could have been, how things might have gone had Glasgow Rangers not been using the tax money of all supporters to subsidise the club of a few.
While the talk of stripping the Blues of some of their ill-gotten titles has, to my knowledge, only thus far emanated from those of a Celtic persuasion, it’s quite possible that the powers that be, despite their perceived bias towards Rangers, may in due course take that very action.
So, let’s begin.
Glasgow Rangers began using the Employee Benefit Trust, or EBT scheme, that is at the crux of all this, in 2001. In the interim, Rangers, freed from the burden of paying their share of tax, have claimed no fewer than five league titles, four Scottish Cups, and a whopping six league cups. Not a bad return when you consider the final tax bill will, even by the wildest estimates, come in shy of 100 Million.
2001. Not a great first year for the new cost-saving scheme, but all good things come to those who wait. Having claimed the title by a distance in the previous year, the Light Blues finished second behind Celtic by 15 points. Despite spending 20 Million that they didn’t have on just three players, Tore Andre Flo, Ronald De Boer, and the insurmountable Bert Konterman, Rangers finished the season without a trophy. I can’t imagine third-placed Hibernian being upset by their position, as, even without Rangers’ alleged ‘financial doping’, it’s very doubtful Hibs would have made up the whopping 14 point gap.
Possible aggrieved parties. Realistically, none.
2002. Much improved. The club splashed out another 6.5 million on Michael Ball. They finished a distant second again to the Hoops, but claimed a cup double, narrowly beating Celtic in the Scottish Cup final, and hammering Ayr in the League Cup.
Again, third placed Livingston, 27 points behind, can hardly complain.
Possible aggrieved parties. Celtic. Amount owed, one Scottish Cup, thank you very much. Ayr? Doubtful
2003. Ah, this is where it gets serious, Rangers won the title on goal difference, Dunfermline, for their part, being more than willing to let the Gers rattle the back of the net six times on the final day of the season. They completed the treble, beating their old Glasgow foes 2-1 in the final of the League Cup, while seeing off Dundee United 1-0 in the Scottish Cup.
Possible aggrieved parties. Take your pick Celtic, obviously, but as much at Dunfermline’s actions as at Rangers. Dundee United, one Scottish Cup. Again, the third placed team, this time Hearts, were never in the race.
2004. Rangers again finished second, 13 points above Hearts. Celtic claimed a League and Cup double.
Possible aggrieved parties. Hearts? At a push, maybe.
2005. Barry Ferguson arrived in January courtesy of more stashed-away pounds, 4.5 Million of them to be precise. Rangers claimed the League and League Cup double, Celtic winning the Scottish Cup. Motherwell were hammered by Rangers in the League Cup final, but Celtic, living within their means, lost out on the league by a single point.
Possible aggrieved parties. Celtic. Put that down in the record books as a League and Cup double.
2006. Celtic and Hearts finished first and second in the League. Hearts won the Cup, Celtic won the League Cup. Not much to see here. Let’s move on.
2007. Celtic retain the League, and claim the Cup, Rangers finish second in the League, seven points above Aberdeen. Hibs win the League Cup.
Possible aggrieved parties. Aberdeen? Probably.
2008. Celtic win the League, Motherwell too far behind Rangers in third. The Blues beat Queen of the South 3-2 in the Scottish Cup final, and Dundee United in the League Cup after penalties.
Possible aggrieved parties. Queen of the South, Dundee United.
2009. And so began ‘three in row’, though that number may be subsequently revised down to none in a row. Rangers finish four points above the Bhoys. Hearts are a very distant third. Rangers again ‘claim’ the Scottish Cup beating Falkirk 1-0 in the final. Celtic beat Rangers in the League Cup.
Possible aggrieved parties. Celtic and Falkirk. 1 trophy each.
2010. Rangers ‘retain’ the League, finishing six points above their East End rivals. Dundee United too far behind in third, Dundee United win the Scottish Cup. Rangers beat St Mirren 1-0 in the League Cup final.
Possible aggrieved parties. Celtic and St Mirren.
2011. Rangers claim the League title again, with a point more than Celtic, Hearts this time way back in third. Celtic win the Scottish Cup. Rangers beat Celtic 2-1 in the League Cup final.
Possible aggrieved parties. Celtic, all the way to a reclaimed Treble.
So there you have it. Lets summarise the various legitimate claims.
Glasgow Celtic. 5 League Titles, 1 Scottish Cup, 2 League Cups.
Dundee United. 1 League Cup, 1 Scottish Cup.
Queen of the South. 1 Scottish Cup.
Falkirk. 1 Scottish Cup.
St Mirren. I League Cup.
Ayr, Motherwell, Aberdeen, Hearts and Hibs, and just about every other team in Scottish Football whose position has been directly or indirectly affected by Rangers’ activities.