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The Story Ofandhellip; The Green and Whitewash of the 2003/04 campaign

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'The Story Of' is a web series dedicated to small but special tales from Celtic’s illustrious history. Here, we remember Celtic’s incredible record against their rivals during the 2003/04 campaign.

IN domestic football competition, what is better than beating your biggest rivals? Beating your biggest rivals on all four occasions during the same league campaign. In 2004, Martin O’Neill’s Celtic did just that – a feat they hadn’t managed since the 1970s, and something they haven’t achieved since.

Billed thereafter as the ‘Green and Whitewash’ of the 2003/04 trail, the Hoops defeated the Ibrox side 1-0 on October 4, 2003; 3-0 on January 3, 2004; 2-1 on March 28, 2004; and 1-0 on May 8, 2004 in a season that saw them clinch the SPL championship and the Scottish Cup, reach the group-stages of the UEFA Champions League, and the quarter-finals of the UEFA Cup.  

During the first of those derby encounters, a lone John Hartson strike was all that separated the sides in a 1-0 away win. At Paradise three months later, goals from Stiliyan Petrov, Stanislav Varga and Alan Thompson made the difference. Henrik Larsson and Thompson hit the net in a 2-1 away win a few days after the Hoops defeated Barcelona on aggregate in the last 16 of the UEFA Cup. And a wonderfully composed last-minute lob from Chris Sutton rounded off the four-times clean sweep.  

"It was terrific," Martin O’Neill told the Celtic View after the final 1-0 win of May 2004. "I was delighted with the win. I thought we played really well, especially in the second half, and there's no doubt that we deserved to win it. Although the goal that won the game came very later, it was worth waiting for and worthy of winning any game.

"It was a great feeling to complete the four league wins over Rangers this season and after being a bit flat over the last couple of weeks it has given us a big boost.

"It is a terrific achievement and these things are definitely hard to come by. It was a great moment and for me encapsulated so much of what has been good this season.

"I'm delighted now that we have a home game to round off the season and have a chance to thank the fans. There's still plenty to play for and our incentive now is to try and win our remaining two games."




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