Odsonne Édouard scored the opener as Celtic continued their resurgence with a 3-2 Scottish League Cup win against Hearts that was more comfortable than the score suggests.
Édouard – back in the starting lineup as centre-forward after Ryan Christie missed out with a minor injury – finished off a slick attack in the 29th minute. Kyogo Furuhashi moved out to a wide left position to accommodate the Frenchman but he linked up with Édouard to set up Stephen Welsh to head the second, and the Japan international restored Celtic’s two-goal cushion in the second half.
Carl Starfelt had gifted Liam Boyce the chance to get Hearts back in the game from the penalty spot, and the substitute Aaron McEneff pulled a goal back in stoppage-time. But the Celtic goalkeeper Joe Hart otherwise enjoyed a quiet afternoon as the hosts dominated possession.
Hearts had beaten Celtic at Tynecastle in the Scottish Premiership opener 15 days earlier but the Jambos manager, Robbie Neilson, admitted a Celtic Park encounter would be a “different ball game” and so it proved.
Aberdeen fell to a 2-1 second-round defeat by Raith Rovers after the manager, Stephen Glass, made seven changes for the trip to Stark’s Park, ahead of his side facing Qarabag in the Europa Conference League play-off in Azerbaijan on Thursday.
With the likes of Christian Ramirez, Lewis Ferguson, Scott Brown and Ryan Hedges on the bench, Aberdeen dominated the first half and led through Jay Emmanuel-Thomas’s wonderful strike. But Raith got a lift inside three minutes of the restart when Ethon Varian scored following a set-piece. Dario Zanatta bagged a 71st-minute winner with the young full-back Jack Gurr culpable at both goals.
There was more misery for the Dons when Jonny Hayes left the playing area on a stretcher and the substitute Hedges limped away on crutches after both sustained late injuries.
St Johnstone prevailed on penalties with Ali McCann netting the decisive spot-kick against Arbroath to ensure a place in the quarter-finals.
Davidson was pleased to progress 3-2 on penalties against the Championship side – with the scores 2-2 after extra-time – but admitted that Thursday evening’s Europa League match against Galatasaray took a lot more out of his players than he thought.
Ricky Little missed the first penalty for Arbroath and their chances appeared to be over when Dale Hilson missed the target, but Jason Kerr and Callum Booth both failed to convert for Saints.
However, Bobby Linn hit the post for the hosts and McCann wrapped up the Perth side’s win.