The Third Round of the Scottish Communities League Cup saw three SPL sides knocked out of the competition by lower league opposition, in what was truly a midweek giant-killing fest. Tuesday night saw Aberdeen knocked out of the competition on penalties by East Fife and on Wednesday Hearts were knocked out on penalties by Ayr United, while Rangers saw a last-minute own goal from Neil Alexander give Falkirk a 3-2 victory to send the Ibrox side out of the competition.
There was no such drama for Celtic, Kilmarnock, St. Mirren or Dundee United as they all went through to the Quarter Final draw, while Hibs and Motherwell battled it all the way to penalties, which saw Colin Calderwood’s side triumph.
Falkirk 3-2 Rangers
Rangers defence of their League Cup crown ended with a dramatic 3-2 defeat at the hands of First Division side Falkirk last night.
Farid El Allagui scored twice for Falkirk before Dorin Goian and Nikica Jelavic scored for Rangers. With the game looking as though it will go to extra time, Falkirk were awarded a free kick 25 yards out from goal. Mark Millar fired the free kick towards goal and Neil Alexander bundled the ball into his own net to give Falkirk an injury time winner, booking Steven Pressley’s side a place in the quarter finals.
Ross County 0-2 Celtic
After Sunday’s 4-2 defeat to rivals Rangers in the first Glasgow derby of the season, Neil Lennon’s side bounced back to beat Ross County 2-0 at a rain drenched Victoria Park in Dingwall.
Gary Hooper scored after 14 minutes from a yard out, before a Scott Boyd own goal gave Celtic a two goal advantage in the Second Half.
County did give Celtic a bit of scare in the first half when a Michael Gardyne volley hit Fraser Forster’s post, but another giant-killing was not on the cards and Celtic, while not in top form, will be buoyed by their place in the next round.
Ayr 1-1 Hearts (4-1 pens)
After knocking out Inverness Caley in the previous round, Ayr United continued their giant killing exploits by beating Hearts 4-1 on penalties after it ended 1-1 after 90 minutes at Somerset Park.
Danny Grainger and Rudi Skacel were both denied by Ayr goalkeeper Kevin Cuthbert in the penalty shoot-out, which gave Mark Roberts the duty of sending United through with his successfully dispatched spot kick.
During the 90 minutes, Scott Robinson had given Hearts the lead on 48 minutes, but that was cancelled out by an equaliser from Gareth Wardlaw, sending the tie to extra time.
Aberdeen 3-3 East Fife (3-4 pens)
East Fife keeper Mark Ridgers was the hero for his side as he saved three penalties in the shootout as Aberdeen were knocked out of the League Cup.
Ryan Wallace gave East Fife the lead on 31 minutes, but Rory McArdle equalised ten minutes later for Aberdeen. Darren Mackie gave the Dons the lead, before Matthew Park levelled the scores for East Fife.
A strike from Robert Sloan looked to have sealed an East Fife victory in 90 minutes, but an injury time penalty from Rory Fallon saw the game go into extra time – ending goalless.
Motherwell 2-2 Hibernian (6-7 pens)
Hibs won a nail-biting penalty shoot-out at Fir Park. Motherwell led at half time from goals by Keith Lasley and Michael Higdon, which cancelled out Garry O’Connor’s opener.
Hibs piled forward in the second half looking for an equaliser and it was the current ‘bad-boy’ of football Garry O’Connor who duly delivered as he latched onto a Leigh Griffiths ball for his seventh goal of the season.
Hibs keeper was then the hero in the penalty shoot-out saving from Jamie Murphy and Nicky Law, as Hibs scored six of their seven penalties.
St Johnstone 0 – 2 St Mirren
Jim Goodwin scored a superb goal, which sealed St.Mirren’s place in the last eight of the League Cup at the expense of St.Johnstone at McDiarmid Park.
On 38 minutes, the Buddies took the lead after an own goal from Jamie Adams and right on the half time whistle skipper Jim Goodwin hammered home a superb 25 yard strike to give St.Mirren a 2-0 win.
Despite their results in the league of late, St.Johnstone failed to trouble Craig Samson in the St.Mirren goal and the win sees Danny Lennon’s side progress into the next round.
Airdrie Utd 0 – 2 Dundee Utd
Dundee United moved into the quarter finals of the Scottish Communities League Cup with a comfortable 2-0 win over Airdrie at New Broomfield. Ryan Dow capitalised on a mistake by Diamonds keeper Paul McKane to put United ahead after 11 minutes.
Ryan Donnelly then missed a glorious chance for an Airdrie equaliser when he rounded Dusan Pernis in the United goal, only to hit the side netting on 22 minutes.
Skipper Jon Daly secured the win for Dundee United when he latched onto a Paul Dixon’s cross at the back post to score in 76 minutes.
Kilmarnock 5 – 0 Queen of South
A Paul Heffernan hat trick secured a five-star performance for Kilamrnock as they strolled into the quarter finals against ten man Queen of the South.
Gary Harkins opened the scoring after just 90 second, before the Doonhamers saw Kevin Smith sent off for using an elbow on Leon Panikvar.
Down to ten men, Queens could not deal with the threat posed from Heffernan as he ran riot. Just before half time the Irishman scored Killie’s second, before he volleyed home his second of the game and lobbed Robinson in the Doonhamers goal to round off his hat trick and Killie’s fourth of the night. Former Celtic and Middlesborough striker Ben Hutchison then rounded off the scoring with Killie’s fifth on the night.