Celtic smash Hibs to reach Cup quarters
James Forrest bagged a brace as Celtic staged a second-half comeback to progress to the Scottish League Cup semi-finals with a 4-1 win over 10-man Hibernian today.
Hibs got off to a perfect start when Celtic defender Daniel Majstorovic deflected Ivan Sproule's shot into his own net in the fourth minute. Celtic were level 90 seconds after the break following a magnificent strike from Forrest, who grabbed the second goal in the 58th minute.
Anthony Stokes headed in the third and Gary Hooper fired home the fourth before Sproule saw red for his second bookable offence in the 71st minute. The Glasgow side join fellow Scottish Premier League side Kilmarnock and First Division teams Ayr United and Falkirk in the semi-final draw.
Sproule was one of four changes for Hibs and he got his side off to a flyer in the fourth minute when he helped open the scoring. Adam Matthews could only clear a corner as far as the winger, whose shot deflected off Majstorovic and past Beram Kayal on the line.
Celtic should have grabbed an equaliser in the 19th minute when Kayal sent an inviting cross into the box, but Hooper sent his shot wide of Mark Brown's post. Stokes sent a free-kick inches over the bar from 25 yards before he saw his shot cannon off the base of the post minutes later as Celtic grew in confidence.
On-loan Wolves striker Griffiths then blew a major chance to double his side's lead in the 41st minute when he beat the off-side trap to race onto Garry O'Connor's through ball. but Forster was quick off his line to smother his low shot.
Celtic came out from the break fired up and it took them less than two minutes to equalise through Forrest, who sent a ferocious angled drive past Brown after making room for himself at the edge of the box. The Scotland star put his side ahead in the 58th minute when he played a smart one-two with Stokes before slotting his shot into the bottom right-hand corner.
Stokes made it 3-1 in the 64th minute when he rose unmarked to thump a header past Brown from Ki Sung-Yeung's corner. Hooper completed the comeback in the 69th minute when he took one touch to control Matthews' long ball. Things went from bad to worse for Hibs two minutes later when Sproule, who had been booked earlier for a clash with Kayal, saw red for his second bookable offence when he brought down Mark Wilson.
On Tuesday, after taking the scalps of Inverness Caledonian Thistle and Hearts in previous rounds, Ayr United made it a hat-trick of wins over top-flight sides when they defeated St Mirren 1-0. Kilmarnock clinched their place in the final four courtesy of a 2-0 win over East Fife with Mohamadou Sissoko and Gary Harkins getting the goals.
First Division Falkirk, who knocked holders Rangers out in the previous round, dumped Dundee United out on penalties after the game finished 2-2 after extra time.