Rangers ended Celtic’s three-year reign as Scottish champions on Sunday with an impressive 3-0 victory at Dundee United.
Going into the final matches of the season, Walter Smith’s side led their Glasgow rivals by two points and needed a victory to guarantee the title coming back to Ibrox for the first time since 2005. However, in the end, Celtic’s 0-0 home draw with Hearts meant that the title was heading to the blue half of Glasgow, regardless of Rangers’ result. Rangers were always in control of their destiny and took the lead in just the sixth minute. Steven Davis slipped a pass through to Kris Boyd, whose attempt at a shot was stabbed into the back of the net by Kyle Lafferty. United goalkeeper Lukasz Zaluska, who is joining Celtic in the summer, was plucking the ball out of his net again on the stroke of half-time when Rangers earned a free-kick on the edge of the box when Maurice Edu was fouled. Sasa Papac’s set-piece was blocked but the ball fell to the feet of Pedro Mendes, who took a touch before rifling a blistering left-footed shot home from 25 yards out.
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With the title now looking assured, Rangers really began to enjoy themselves and they added a third seven minutes after the break when Steven Whittaker embarked on a run down the right flank before delivering a low pass to the feet of Boyd who gratefully lashed home from the edge of the six-yard box to claim his 31st goal of the season. To complete a miserable afternoon for United their defeat meant they missed out to Aberdeen in the race for the final Europa League place. Top scorer Boyd told Press Association Sport: “It’s a delight to be part of such a good team that’s won the league. We knew coming here was going to be hard. We got the early goal, which settled us.” Rangers will complete the double if they beat Falkirk in next weekend’s Scottish Cup final. “We’ll look forward to next Saturday but we’ll enjoy the moment just now,” said Boyd, who insisted his side were worthy champions after finishing four points clear at the top.