by John Reid

The Scottish Cup takes centre-stage this week as eight teams reach the quarter-final stage.
The first team through were Dundee United, who easily defeated Rangers 3-0. Johnny Russell opened the scoring after 15 seconds, Jon Daly got the second shortly before half-time and Russell got his second with just over ten minutes left. Rangers’ day went from bad to worse when both Kai Naismith and Ian Black were sent-off late on. The result has seemed to work as a some kind of wake-up call to Rangers‘ fans – who did boycott the game and had under 400 fans at the game – they it will tae them a very long time to get back to the top of Scottish football.

In the battle of the first division clubs there was a surprise as Hamilton won 2-0 at Dunfermline with goals from Steven May and Jonathon Routledge, the result is a blow to Dunfermline, who suffered from financial problems this season and would have been looking for a good cup run.

There were no shocks as Falkirk easily defeated Forfar 4-1, Lyle Taylor the hero with two goals as Falkirk – after reaching the league cup semis last year – continue their good form in the cups.

Kilmarnock defeated off the boil Inverness 2-0 in a game defined by injuries, as Paul Heffernan who replaced the injured the Cillian Sheridan scored both of Killie’s goals, whilst Inverness – who have lost three games in a week – lost the influential pair of Andrew Shinnie and Richie Foran to injury.

St. Mirren’s great week continued as they defeated St. Johnstone 2-0. Esmael Goncalves was the hero as his double sent the Buddies through to the last eight, the Portugese striker has now scored 4 goals in 3 games.

Onto Sunday’s games, and Celtic defeated a stuffy Raith side 3-0. After a goalless first half, a Kris Commons gave Celtic the lead, before two late goals from Forrest and Mulgrew sealed the win.

A lot of people had tipped first division leaders Morton to win their game at the SPL’s bottom side Dundee, but this was certainly not the case as Dundee were emphatic 5-1 winners, and even though Morton managed at one stage to level the game at 1-1, Dundee ran out easy winners.
Hibs ended Aberdeen’s season with a 1-0 at Easter Road thanks to a great strike from Gary Deegan and a Ben Williams penalty-save from Scott Vernon, Hibs were just about worthy winners, as Aberdeen didn’t get going until the last twenty minutes which included the penalty miss and another couple of great saves from Williams.

The quarter-final draw has four very interesting ties: A first division side is guaranteed a semi-final place as Hamilton face Falkirk, the biggest Dundee derby in many years as Dundee meet United at Dens, an all SPL clash between Kilmarnock and Hibs and most intriguingly a rematch of last week’s league cup semi-final as Celtic travel to St. Mirren.
The week’s only SPL game saw Ross County and Hearts battle out a 2-2 draw, which was notable for another goal for Hearts’ Michael Ngoo and a last minute equaliser from County’s Iain Vigurs.
Next week’s fixtures are split over Friday, Saturday and Monday, the most intriguing fixtures being Celtic’s trip to Inverness and Kilmarnock facing Motherwell. The round-up will return next week to cover it all.