Late Palma strike sinks St Mirren as Celtic celebrate SPL triumph on final day

By Sports Desk May 18, 2024

Luis Palma struck a late winner as champions Celtic twice came from behind to see off St Mirren 3-2 on the final day of the Scottish Premiership season.

It was a day of celebrations at Celtic Park for Brendan Rodgers' side, who wrapped up their third successive domestic title in midweek.

However, St Mirren threatened to spoil the party when Mark O'Hara fired them in front after just seven minutes.

Top scorer Matt O'Riley equalised for the hosts in the 21st minute, but they fell behind again just five minutes later when O'Hara doubled his tally from the penalty spot after Stephen Welsh fouled Toyosi Olusanya.

Kyogo Furuhashi levelled for Celtic before half-time, and the Hoops completed the turnaround with Palma scored the winner with four minutes remaining.

Rodgers' side finished eight points clear of second-place Rangers, who were held to a 3-3 draw by Hearts.

Despite falling behind to Lawrence Shankland's strike, goals from Ross McCausland, Todd Cantwell and Fabio Silva seemingly had the visitors on course for a comfortable win at Tynecastle.

However, there was to be a late twist with Dexter Lembikisa pulling a goal back in the 82nd minute, before Kyosuke Tagawa struck deep into stoppage time to rescue a point for the hosts.

There was also nothing to separate Dundee and Kilmarnock, who drew 1-1 in the other match on the final day.

Luke McCowan cancelled out Gary Mackay-Steven's earlier effort, though the Dundee captain squandered a glorious opportunity to complete the turnaround when he missed a penalty two minutes from time.

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    Pablo Mastroeni is pleased with the strides Real Salt Lake have made on the road this season and is hopeful they can cause more problems at Sporting Kansas City on Wednesday.

    RSL sit top of the Western Conference, one point clear of LAFC, with a 0-0 draw away at CF Montreal at the weekend extending their unbeaten streak.

    They have not lost any of their last 14 matches in the MLS and are unbeaten in their last nine on the road.

    Mastroeni has been impressed with his team's progress, particularly their performances on the road.

    "I'm really pleased with the mindset, and I feel like as a group we're starting to really understand moments and really control games as to the way we want to play," said Mastroeni.

    "Going to any stadium away from home, it's very difficult to [get wins] but I feel we've made great strides in that direction over the course of the season.

    "It's taken us 18 games to get to a point where we feel like we can go on the road and really dictate large portions of the games. I feel like we're getting really brave with our performances and I'm pleased with the progress we're making."

    Meanwhile, Sporting KC sit 13th and are seven points behind the playoff places having won just one of their last 12 matches in the league.

    After a 4-2 defeat to LA Galaxy at the weekend, head coach Peter Vermes has admitted he may need to bring in reinforcements in the upcoming transfer window.

    "Over the next two to three windows we're going to have to be very active," Vermes said. "If it happens? I can't tell you if it does or not. We need players on all three lines, for sure."


    Sporting Kansas City – Johnny Russell

    Russell has scored seven goals in 15 career matches against Real Salt Lake in all competitions. He has only scored more goals against Houston Dynamo (eight) since he joined Sporting in 2018.

    Real Salt Lake – Cristian Arango

    Real Salt Lake are on a nine-match unbeaten run on the road in the MLS, though they were held to a 0-0 draw against Montreal last weekend. Arango was their biggest threat in that game, having six shots, though he could not find a breakthrough.


    Real Salt Lake defeated Sporting Kansas City at home, 1-0, in May 4 in the first meeting between the sides this season. RSL have won five of their eight matches against Sporting (D1 L2, incl. playoffs) since the beginning of the 2021 season.

    Real Salt Lake extended their regular-season unbeaten run to 14 games (W8 D6) with a scoreless draw at Montreal on Saturday, equaling the longest single-season run in club history (July-October 2010).

    Meanwhile, Sporting Kansas City's 4-2 defeat to the Galaxy on Saturday was their eighth defeat in their last nine regular-season matches. Sporting have not lost nine times in a span of 10 regular-season matches in the post-shootout era (since 2000).


    Sporting Kansas City – 32.2%

    Draw – 25.4%

    Real Salt Lake – 42.4%

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    LA Galaxy – Dejan Joveljic

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    New York City FC – Santiago Rodriguez

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    It is also the first time that Belgium have lost since 27 November 2022 against Morocco in the World Cup, ending a 15-game unbeaten run in all competitions (W10 D5).

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