Rangers ‘EBT’ SPL titles: 2000-2011

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RANGERS won five titles between November 2000 and May 2011 - the timeframe during which they were alleged to have failed to properly declare all payments made to players signed and registered with the SPL.

The Ibrox club’s use of an Employee Benefit Scheme (EBT), in which loans formed part of players’ payments was under scrutiny after Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs (HMRC) appealed a protracted tribunal that ruled Rangers had not broken any tax laws.

Shota Arveladze and his Rangers team mates celebrate clinching the 2005 SPL title. Picture: Getty

Shota Arveladze and his Rangers team mates celebrate clinching the 2005 SPL title. Picture: Getty

The SPL board of directors decided in June 2012 that the club had a case to answer in relation to the alleged breaches of league rules.

Had they been found guilty, a range of 18 sanctions faced the club, including title-stripping.

Here, we look back at the five titles in question.

25 May 2003: Rangers 6 - 1 Dunfermline

Rangers clinched the league crown on goal difference after the SPL title race went down to the wire, with both teams level on points. Alex McLeish’s men romped to a 6-1 win at home to Dunfermline while Martin O’Neill’s Hoops could only beat Kilmarnock 4-0 at Rugby Park, handing the title to Rangers by the slender margin of one goal.

22 May 2005: Hibernian 0 - 1 Rangers

The Ibrox men regained their SPL title by a point from Old Firm rivals Celtic on ‘Helicopter Sunday’. Motherwell striker Scott McDonald’s last-day double at Fir Park robbed his future employers of the championship as the Light Blues celebrated a 1-0 win and the league crown at Easter Road.

24 May 2009: Dundee United 0 - 3 Rangers

After watching Celtic make it three-in-a-row, Walter Smith’s side stormed back to secure the flag with another last-day decider, beating Dundee United 3-0 after goals by Kyle Lafferty, Pedro Mendes and Kris Boyd secured the title by four points.

25 April 2010: Hibernian 0 - 1 Rangers

Easter Road was the venue for another championship party as the Ibrox men made it back-to-back league wins. Kyle Lafferty bagged the title-clinching goal before the club ended the season with a six-point winning margin over Celtic, who sacked boss Tony Mowbray following his disastrous reign.

15 May 2011: Kilmarnock 1 - 5 Rangers

Walter Smith bowed out as Rangers boss with his 10th top-flight triumph. Again it went down to the final day as Celtic pushed the Light Blues close, but three goals in the first seven minutes at Rugby Park ensured there was no late drama as Rangers made it three in a row with a 5-1 win over Kilmarnock.