Craig Wighton scored a hat-trick as Hearts beat Raith Rovers 3-1 to make it three wins from three in the Betfred Cup.
Wighton netted penalties at either end of the first half and scored an excellent late solo effort after Manny Duku had brought Rovers back into the game.
Kyle Benedictus was extremely harshly penalised for handball in the second minute to allow Wighton to net, the ball appearing to hit his back. But the defender had little complaint about the second spot-kick after pulling the goalscorer down with his hand after slipping.
Duku powered a shot into the near top corner after running on to Dylan Tait’s through-ball and Raith claimed strongly for a penalty for handball against Stephen Kingsley as they battled for an equaliser at Tynecastle.
But Wighton settled the game on the counter-attack with three minutes left as he ran from his own half, nutmegged Benedictus and drilled the ball into the corner.
Inverness cannot catch Hearts in Group A after being held to a goalless home draw by Cowdenbeath. Caley Thistle earned a bonus point with a 4-2 shoot-out win.
Ayr went top of Group F after Michael Moffat’s 24th-minute penalty gave them a 1-0 win over Annan but the main drama was further down the coast at Stranraer where Albion Rovers won 15-14 on penalties after a 2-2 draw.
Connor McManus thought he had done his job when he netted Stranraer’s fourth spot-kick of the shoot-out but his turn came round again and he was the only man to miss in 30 attempts.
Ten-man Partick Thistle joined St Mirren on five points at the top of Group G after a 3-2 shoot-out win over Queen of the South following a goalless draw at Palmerston.
Brian Graham was sent off seven minutes before the break but Thistle held out.
Cameron Blues netted the only goal for Morton against Queen’s Park six minutes after half-time as the Greenock side joined Queen of the South on four points.
In Group H, Alloa beat Edinburgh City 2-1 thanks to Robert Thomson’s 85th-minute winner. Blair Henderson looked to have earned the visitors a point four minutes earlier after cancelling out Stefan Scougall’s opener.
Elsewhere in the group, Airdrie won 2-0 at Stenhousemuir thanks to second-half goals from Paul McKay and Craig Thomson.
Peterhead followed up their shock win over Dundee United by beating Brechin 3-1 to join Micky Mellon’s side and St Johnstone on six points in Group C.
An Isaac Layne double and a Steven Boyd goal had Peterhead three up inside 24 minutes before Brechin stemmed the tide and got a consolation through Kieran Inglis.
Elgin are top of Group D ahead of Arbroath and Ross County after first-half goals from Conor O’Keefe and Josh Peters earned them a 2-0 victory at Montrose.
Falkirk boosted their Grop E qualification hopes with a 2-1 home win against Clyde. Callumn Morrison scored the winner after David Goodwillie had cancelled out Bairns striker Aidan Keena’s opener.
Cove Rangers beat former Highland League rivals Brora Rangers 6-5 on penalties after Rory McAllister and Jamie Semple were on target for Paul Hartley’s side in a 2-2 draw in Group B.
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