The league takes a well earned break this week, with the oldest competition in association football taking the forefront of the action. All ten Scottish Teams made it to this stage of the cup, thought the weather claimed three victims, with Falkirks visit to Livingston being postponed, as well as Dumbarton’s trip north to Peterhead. Of the remaining seven teams involved, the fortunes were mixed. St Mirren suffered a rare defeat, Brechin experienced a not too rare loss themselves, while the only all-Championship fixture provided a win for the visitors. With six games to review, we will start at Palmerstone Park, where QOS faced struggling top flight side Partick Thistle.
Queen of the South 1-2 Partick
This match was one of the stand outs of the round on paper, a hit and miss Championship at home to a down on their luck Premiership one, there was definite cause for an upset. It was Irishman Conor Sammon who came up Milhouse in Dumfries that day. He opened the scoring in the first half from a close range shot. The Championship team got a leveller ten minutes after the half time interval, youngster Ross Fergusson benefiting from a botched clearance by Partick defender Niall Keown, who’s attempted hit away from goal bounce off the striker and into net. The former Wigan and Derby striker Sammon saw his 81st minute strike deflected into the back of the net beyond Alan Martin. It was a disappointing result for QOS, who came within ten minutes from forcing a reply. Despite Partick’s poor form this season, they are still a division above QOS, and can take some solace from coming close to a scalp.
Aberdeen 4-1 St Mirren
This match up was meant to be one of the ties of the round, with in-form St Mirren taking on an Aberdeen side who perhaps had some rust to shake off after their winter break. The rust was shaken off inside ten minutes, Stelios Demetriou bringing down Greg Stewart eight minutes in. Adam Rooney stood up and eased his penalty beyond Craig Samson. On loan Celtic midfielder Ryan Christie added to the score sheet ten minutes on, latching on to a cut back pass from Gary Mackay-Steven and into the net. St Mirren scored against the run of play, Gavin Reilly volleying home a rebound from a Joe Lewis save to give the visitors a chance. The Dons struck again after half an hour,Christie benfiting from some rank bad defending. Stelios Demetriou botched a header, the ball falling to Shay Logan, the fan-favourite crossing to the back post for Christie to nod home. Gary Mackay-Steven scored the goal of the day, hammering home a strike from eighteen yards, rocketing beyond Samson to seal the victory for the hosts. It was a humbling loss for St Mirren, who had arrived in high confidence, and were shot firmly back to reality.
Dundee 2-2 Inverness
Dundee’s second team were denied a victory over the highlanders late on in this cup tie. Aaron Doran took advantage of a defensive mix in the penalty area to volley home for the lower league side. Dundee appeared to have the riot act read to them by manager Neil McCann, with the hosts scoring a double after the break. A-Jay Leitch-Smith struck from the edge of the box, his shot hitting off Sofien Moussa to equalise. Inverness squandered a great many chances before conceding with 25 minutes to go. Mark O’Hara stole possession from Iain Vigurs and charged down the field, hammering the ball home from the edge of the box to the elation of the home fans. Dundee thought that they were coasting to a victory, but a late strike from George Oakley put an end to that. The game will go to a reply, not an ideal situation for either side, with both having a packed fixture list.
Dunfermline 1-2 Morton
The away side took the lead a quarter of an hour into the match on Saturday, with Frank Ross playing a perfect pass over the Dunfermline defence and into the path of Gary Oliver to smash the ball home. Declan McManus got the equaliser for the Pars just before the hour mark. He fired from the edge of the box, his strike being palmed into the net by Morton ‘keeper Derek Gaston. Jim Duffy brought Jai Quitonga off the bench and his decision was vindicated late on when twenty year old struck his shot beyond Lee Robinson to seal the away side a place in the 5th round of the Scottish Cup. Allan Johnston felt aggrieved to have lost, based on the balance of play, but lady luck was not on his side this weekend past.
Celtic 5-0 Brechin
Not a vintage display by Brechin City, but then again sides of much larger status have gone to Parkhead and suffered heavier, more humiliating defeats under the Rodgers regime. Darren Dods will have set his side up to defend resolutely and try and hit on the counter attack. That plan was foiled after only two minutes when James Forrest to finish a scintillating run from Scott Sinclair. Callum McGregor stole possession from the Brechin defence ten minutes later, teeing up Sinclair to glide the ball home. Dedryck Boyata and Oliver Ntcham both scored headers in the second half, and Odsonne Edourard finished the route with five minutes to go, hammering home a Mikael Lustig pass. It was a crushing defeat for Brechin, but to reiterate, there is really no shame in losing to Celtic, especially when there are twenty teams between them in the league.
Alloa 0-2 Dundee United
This ended up being a fairly cut and dry affair, though going into it there were questions asked over Dundee United, whose recent form was questionable at best. Mark Durnan headed the Terrors ahead one minute before the break, giving them a nice cushion to take into the second half. This forced Alloa to push forward more in the second half, allowing the United attackers more space going forward. New signing Emil Lyng saw his shot deflect off a defender and fall into the net to double the lead and cap off the win for United, whose name is entered into the hat for the 5th round of the cup.
Other results in the cup are as follows:
Albion Rovers P-P St Johnstone
Ayr United 4-1 Arbroath
East Fife 0-1 Brora Rangers
Kilmarnock 1-0 Ross County
Motherwell 2-0 Hamilton
Peterhead P-P Dumbarton
It was certainly a mixed bag of results for the Championship teams in the cup. Three couldn’t play due to weather conditions postponing their games. Of the seven who played, two won, four lost and one team, Inverness, forced a reply. It is a shame to lose so many sides, but it will make my life easier in the future! The draw for the fifth round of the Scottish Cup takes place on Sunday after the Edinburgh derby. The fixtures are as such:
Formartine United OR Cove Rangers VS Livingston OR Falkirk
Morton VS Peterhead OR Dumbarton
Hearts VS Albion Rovers OR St Johnstone
Kilmarnock VS Brora Rangers
Ayr United VS Fraserburgh OR The Rangers
Aberdeen VS Dundee United
Dundee OR Inverness VS Motherwell
Celtic VS Partick