by John Reid
The Scottish Cup quarter-finals take centre-stage in this week’s Scottish round-up.
Celtic gained revenge on St. Mirren for their defeat in the league cup semi with a hard-fought 2-1 win in Paisley. All the goals came in the first half, Joe Ledley giving Celtic the lead, Goncalves equalising after a blunder by Izaguirre and Stokes putting Celtic back into the lead. Celtic now travel to Juventus in the Champions League on Wednesday.
In the all first division quarter final, Falkirk got through to the semi-finals with a 2-1 win at Hamilton, with two goals from star midfielder Blair Alston, the second a superb strike. Andy Ryan pulled Hamilton back into the game and then missed a great chance to level the game, but Falkirk held out.
In the first of Sunday’s quarter-finals, United won the Dundee derby 2-1 at Dens Park. Brian McLean headed United into an early lead which was cancelled out with a well-worked goal by Jim McAlister. But shortly after Dundee’s best spell of the game Gary Mackay-Steven won the fame with a fine goal.
In Sunday’s second quarter-final, a hat-trick from the prolific Leigh Griffiths sent Hibs through to the semi-finals as they won a thriller 4-2 at Kilmarnock. Could Hibs make the final for the second year in a row? The draw for the semis is on Monday at 1:30.
In the SPL, Motherwell followed up their 2-1 midweek win over Celtic with a 2-1 win at Hearts, early goals from Michael Higdon and a Dylan McGowan own goal giving them the win.
Hearts sacked manager John McGlynn in midweek after the 2-0 loss at St. Mirren, Gary Locke has taken over to try and steer the club to the end of a difficult season.
In the Highland derby, Ross County and Inverness drew 0-0 in a match which was highlighted with a ‘spat’ between rival managers Derek Adams and Terry Butcher.
In the first division, Partick Thistle took advantage of Morton’s inactivity with a 4-0 win at Dunfermline. Thistle are two points behind Morton with a game in hand. Dunfermline are the latest Scottish club to have financial problems, with the players still owed wages and rumours of both a player’s strike and the club going into administration. Time will tell what will happen next.
Queen of the South continued their stroll to the second division with a 3-2 win at East Fife, to remain 18 points clear at the top.
Rangers ‘celebrated’ the Lord Nimmo Smith verdict to not strip their titles (they were found guilty and fined £250 grand) with a 3-1 win over East Stirlingshire. There has been a hope for the line to be drawn under the Rangers situation but that seems unlikely.
Next week’s big games are Celtic’s trip to Ross County and the Edinburgh derby. The round-up will be back next week to discuss this and preview the league cup final.