CALLUM McGREGOR played a captain’s role as he fired holders Celtic into a Premier Sports League Cup quarter-final meeting at Motherwell at Fir Park.
The Scotland international midfielder netted the opening goal in the 4-1 win over Ross County in Dingwall to make sure they sidestepped a potential banana skin in the Highlands.
Ange Postecoglou made nine changes from the team that thrashed Dundee United 9-0 at Tannadice on Sunday and gave starts to keeper Benji Siegrist, left-back Alexandro Bernabei and midfielder Aaron Mooy while new Bhoy Sead Haksabanovic made his debut appearance as a substitute in the second-half.
With games against Rangers and Real Madrid to come in the next six days, the Hoops gaffer utilised his squad and the players responded with their sixth successive victory to maintain their 100 per cent record.
Giorgos Giakoumakis curled in a second before half-time and, although there was a hiccup when Alex Iacovatti pulled one back, the holders made certain with further strikes from Daizen Maeda and James Forrest.
Motherwell breezed into the next stage with a 4-0 win over Inverness Caley Thistle at Fir Park where Kevin van Veen helped himself to a hat-trick.
The Dutch ace opened the scoring before visiting skipper Danny Devine put through his own goal after 26 minutes. Van Veen scored from the spot in the 38th and 66th minutes to make it seven goals in six games.
Managerless Dundee United recovered from their weekend walloping from Celtic to win 2-1 at Livingston with first-half goals from Steven Fletcher and Ian Harkes. Kurtis Guthrie hit the home side’s consolation effort.
Hearts slumped to a shock 1-0 loss to Kilmarnock in Edinburgh where Innes Cameron scored a 21st-minute winner.
Remarkably, it was Killie’s fifth consecutive victory at Tynecastle.
Kilmarnock v Dundee United
Rangers v Dundee
Aberdeen v Partick Thistle
Motherwell v Celtic
Ties due October 18-20.