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5 things we learned from this weekend’s Scottish Cup action

Celtic v Raith Rovers – Scottish Cup – Fifth Round – Celtic Park
(Image credit: Steve Welsh)

The cinch Premiership took a break for the weekend with attention turning to the Scottish Cup.

There were the usual thrills and spills in the fifth round with Aberdeen parting ways with manager Stephen Glass after their defeat at Motherwell.

However, there were no shocks with Celtic and Rangers as expected reaching the quarter-finals as tournament favourites.

Ange Postecoglou demands are high

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Celtic went into their Scottish Cup tie against Championship side Raith Rovers on the back of a 20-game unbeaten run in the cinch Premiership and top of the table.

It was a less than scintillating first-half performance by the Hoops but they led with a Liam Scales goal and were mostly in control before second-half goals from Giorgos Giakoumakis, Daizen Maeda and Nir Bitton put gloss on the scoreline.

However, Postecoglou was less than impressed with the first half and reminded his players after the game that he will not accept performances like the opening 45 minutes which so frustrated him at Parkhead.

Kevin van Veen loves playing Aberdeen

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The Motherwell striker scored his fourth goal against the Dons as the Steelmen made it a hat-trick of wins against their opponents this season.

Van Veen hit the equaliser as Motherwell came from behind to win 2-1 and promptly headed straight for former Well skipper Declan Gallagher to celebrate in his face following some earlier tussles.

Van Veen and Motherwell will be looking to add to the Dons’ misery at Fir Park next Saturday.

Glass shattered

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Aberdeen’s 2-1 defeat at Motherwell on Saturday proved to be the final match in charge for under-pressure Glass as he was sacked as manager 24 hours later.

The 45-year-old had only been in the Aberdeen dugout for 11 months but the club decided a change was needed with the Dons now out of all three cup competitions and ninth in the cinch Premiership.

Aberdeen host bottom club St Johnstone in the league on Tuesday.

St Mirren power on

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The Buddies continue to thrive in 2022. A 4-0 Scottish Cup win over Kelty Hearts made it six wins and a draw from seven matches since the winter break.

January signings Alex Grieve and Jordan Jones were on target and the rejuvenated Greg Kiltie grabbed a double.

With Alex Gogic also impressing, Saints look stronger following the January window despite selling star man Jamie McGrath to Wigan.

Shaun Maloney’s Hibernian defy doubters

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As Hibernian manager Shaun Maloney noted afterwards, the BBC Scotland television cameras were stationed at Gayfield on Sunday for a reason: they anticipated a possible Scottish Cup upset.

Arbroath are surprise leaders of the cinch Championship and rarely lose at home, while Hibs have won none of their last six Premiership matches and have generally looked vulnerable of late, particularly since the sale of Martin Boyle.

After losing an early goal at rain-lashed Gayfied, the visitors could easily have capitulated. Instead they responded impressively and set about delivering a professional performance which brought a 3-1 win.

Maloney will be hoping the prospect of a Scottish Cup quarter-final can help spark an upturn in the league for his embattled team.

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