Last non-OF Champions

Celtic and relegation

Penalty hat-trick?

Q Something at stake for Christina-Orr, who writes: "Got a bet on with a Scots guy in a pub, here in London, Ontario..... he says Celtic have been relegated, but my records only go back to 1921...... I maintain that they have NEVER been relegated. Can you help?"

A Enjoy your winnings. Celtic, along with Rangers and Aberdeen, have NEVER been relegated. Closest was in 1947-48 when they finished 12th of 16. Your records would do fine as promotion and relegation wasn’t introduced in Scotland until 1921-22.

Celtic went into their last match in 1947-48 knowing they had to win to make sure of avoiding relegation. They beat Dundee at Dens Park 3-2. Other results also went their way and they could have lost and still stayed up. They finished four points ahead of second-bottom Airdrie.

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Q Mary Hunt asks: "Who was the last team to win the Scottish League other than Rangers or Celtic?"

A It was Aberdeen, under Alex Ferguson, who took the flag back in 1984-85. With 59 points they finished seven clear of runners-up Celtic. That was a record total for the 36-game Premier Division under two points for a win although the Rangers teams which won in 1996 and 2000 would have amassed more under the old system.

The eighteen seasons since then constitutes the second-longest period of Old Firm domination. For 28 seasons - between Third Lanark in 1904 and Motherwell in 1932 - only Celtic and Rangers won the title. The third longest spell is fifteen seasons between Kilmarnock in 1965 and Aberdeen in 1980.

Q Jim McCann wants to know "Did Willie Johnston ever score a hat-trick of penalties for Rangers? A friend of mine reckons he did it against Arbroath in the late 60s or early 70s."

A 'Bud' did indeed take three penalties in a match but it was against St Johnstone, not Arbroath. He scored two from the spot and netted the third from a rebound in a League game at Muirton on Nov 6th 1971. Alex MacDonald notched the other goal for Rangers and Jim Pearson countered for Saints.

Remarkably, all the goals were scored in the second half. Rangers must have wished Johnston was still around when Barry Ferguson missed two penalties at Dundee in a recent League game.

My thanks to Forrest Robertson for clarifying the circumstances of Johnston's third goal.