Celtic secure fitting Joe Hart send off as stubborn St Mirren sunk on trophy day - 3 talking points

Luis Palma struck a late winner as Celtic secured all three points on Trophy Day.

The Honduran knocked home Anthony Ralston’s cross at the far post to see-off St Mirren. Stephen Robinson’s side may have given a Guard of Honour before kick-off, but stood on no ceremony once it started and made Brendan Rodgers’ team twice fight from behind in the first period to win it.

Kyogo Furuhashi and Matt O’Riley both took their Celtic tallies for the term to 19 in reply to a double from Saints ace Mark O’Hara. O’Hara fired the Paisley side into the lead before O’Riley responded with the first equaliser. The midfielder then bagged his second of the contest from the penalty spot before Kyogo clipped home to square it again. Celtic had to wait until the last five minutes to seal the deal, but Palma’s simple finish at the far post did the job.

It was a fitting way for the Celtic season to end as they joyously won their 54th crown. Robinson’s men are also celebrating a return to Europe after almost four decades and it was an entertaining game played out by two teams who were relaxed and had completed their business before kick-off.

Stephen Welsh missed a great chance to open the scoring for Celtic and the hosts were made to pay when Saints took the lead. Rodgers’ team didn’t deal with a long Richard Taylor throw into their box and O’Hara swept home when the ball broke to him in the box.

Celtic were soon level. O’Riley curled just wide moments before pouncing on a loose ball to blast beyond Zach Hemming when Alex Gogic’s headed clearance away from Kyogo bounced free.

However, Saints restored their lead when Welsh missed a long ball through to Toyosi Olusanya and tripped the striker as he attempted to recover. O’Hara stuttered his run-up before cracking a brilliant spot-kick high past Hart’s despairing dive to secure his and the visitors’ second.

The midfielder hit a post with a header, but referee Matthew MacDermid had already spotted a push in the box and awarded a free-kick and the champions quickly restored parity for a second time. Reo Hatate was the architect with a surge down the right and perfectly-timed delivery into the box for the livewire countryman.

Kyogo, who had nicked possession to get the break going, was exactly where he needed to be and, although stretching, his finish at the near post was both stylish and lethal. The hitman then put one a plate for Palma, only for the Honduran to send a free header wide from bang in front of the target. He'd get it right later.

Hatate volleyed over as Celtic finished the opening period strongly and Hemming denied Kyogo from close range soon after the restart. Saints maintained a threat. Olusanya spun to shoot wide and Maik Nawrocki needed to make a saving block to thwart the hitman with another chance.

But Celtic had the final say when O’Riley’s backheel gave Ralston a chance to deliver and Palma was free at the far post to score. Here's three points from Parkhead.

Cup Final flow

Rodgers had a management balancing act ahead of the Scottish Cup Final against Rangers as regards resting individuals whilst maintaining the flow within the performance and had to decide which players to leave out of the starting line-up. Looking at the side, he clearly wanted rhythm maintained in the middle with another goal for O’Riley and an assist for Hatate ensuring that went well. Three of the back four likely won’t start at Hampden and were unconvincing at both of the Saints goals. Welsh had to go off just after an hour with an injury. In attack, Daizen Maeda and James Forrest are set to return either side of Kyogo. The Japanese scored a terrific goal, but, even if it was an option, the wide boys surely didn’t do enough to force their way into the Hampden team, even with Palma scoring the winner.

Super Saints

Stephen Robinson has brought an end to the Paisley club’s 37-year exile from Europe and this was another day for celebration. In the end, they did have enough to get a result out of Glasgow’s East End, but that was largely irrelevant. Their supporters, who are planning trips abroad later in the summer, lapped up the first-half goals from O’Hara and gave their heroes a send-off fitting of the campaign they have had after a performance which summed up the term. Full of endeavour and spirit and refusal to roll over.

From the Hart

Celtic supporters have taken Joe to their Harts and the banner tribute at the beginning of the second period for the keeper would have meant plenty to him. The Englishman could not do anything about the two O’Hara goals with the first finish fierce and the penalty expertly struck. The ovation as he went off in the final seconds to be replaced by Scott Bain was emotional and loud. It’ll take a big character to step into his position next season and that is one of the positions Rodgers will have to look to do business during the summer once Hampden is over. Celtic did not do impressive work in the window with the change of manager obviously having an effect. Rodgers will have a good idea already about what he wants and the club must try to get it.