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The title decider that didn’t decide anything, as Rangers and Dumbarton shared the trophy

© Craig Williamson / SNS The former Scottish League trophy – now the Championship trophy
The former Scottish League trophy – now the Championship trophy

It’s been many moons since Scotland were light years ahead of Holland on the football pitch.

But as Dutch football comes to terms with the fact that this season’s Eredivisie has been declared null and void – and joint leaders Alax and AZ Alkmaar will both get into the Champions League but neither have been declared champions – we can reflect that 129 years ago we found a different solution to a similar situation.

It was the inaugural season of the Scottish League, and its conclusion is something we haven’t seen since.

Rangers looked on course to be crowned champions until they lost 2-1 at home to Celtic in their penultimate league game of the season.

That opened the door for Dumbarton, who had been a thorn in the flesh to the Light Blues throughout the campaign, including a thumping 5-1 win over the Glasgow club at Boghead.

Their 4-2 win away to St Mirren in their final fixture on the same day as the Old Firm clash put them two points ahead of the Ibrox outfit.

That meant Rangers had to beat Third Lanark in their final game to draw level at the top of the table, and they duly did, winning 4-1.

The clubs were then locked on 29 points, and both had the exact same record of 13 wins, three draws and two defeats.

The Sons’ goal difference was better, to the tune of seven goals.

League rules at the time, however, didn’t take that into consideration, but stated that should clubs tie on points at the end of the season, a play-off would take place to decide the champions.

And so on May 21, 1891, the two clubs met in front of 10,000 at neutral Cathkin Park.

And guess what? The match finished 2-2.

With no extra time or penalty shoot-out planned, it was decided that Dumbarton and Rangers would share the title.

We’ve never been in that situation since, although there have been many close-run title races over the years.

Indeed, Friday marked the 55th anniversary of Kilmarnock winning the title by 0.042 of a goal.

Their 2-0 win over nearest challengers Hearts in their own backyard saw the Ayrshire club declared champions on goal average, namely dividing the number of goals scored by the number conceded.

In more recent times, we’ve seen Celtic win the league in 1979 by beating Rangers in a “title decider”, and the infamous Helicopter Sundays of 2003 and 2005, which were gut-wrenching for those fans left to commiserate rather than celebrate.

But you have to wonder just how the fans of Ajax and AZ Alkmaar are feeling this morning.