Former Rangers striker Kyle Lafferty has helped Sarpsborg avoid relegation from the Eliteserien on a dramatic final day of fixtures.
The 32-year-old joined the Norwegian side back in August knowing he would be in a relegation dogfight, and despite not performing as well in front of goal as might have been expected, he has helped his latest club pull off an escape.
Heading into the final matchday, none of the relegation spots had been confirmed, with a score of teams still in danger of going down.
One of those was Sarpsborg’s hosts, Lillestrom, with both teams going into the game on 29 points, although the visitors boasted superior goal difference.
We understand that illness caused the Northern Ireland international to miss multiple training sessions in the build-up to the fixture, but he played the full 90 minutes in an extremely tense 0-0 draw.
The result was enough for Sarpsborg to finish 12th and stay up, but Lillestrom now face a relegation playoff after they were undone by results elsewhere [BBC Sport].
Mjondalen were the surprise package of the day, securing a 1-0 win over Valerenga, which ensured their safety by virtue of a goal difference of -14 compared to Lillestrom’s -15.
A remarkably dramatic end to the season, then, with the bottom six clubs separated by just five points and four teams finishing on 30.
It was a close shave, but the important thing for Lafferty is that his side have secured their top-flight status for another season.
The end of the campaign also signals the expiration of the forward’s initial contract and his future is yet to be decided.
He’s previously been quoted by the Daily Mail as saying: “We’ll get the last game of the season over with and my agent will speak to the club but who knows, I’m open to offers and I’m hoping to play abroad again, I think that suits my style of football, but who knows.”
“If I’m here next season, then I’m happy. But if I’m not then it’s an experience and hopefully, I’ve come here and saved the team from getting relegated.”