Alex Gogic scored the only goal of the game as St Mirren booked their place in the fifth round of the Scottish Cup with a 1-0 win against Queen of the South.

Queens are languishing in seventh place in League One but produced a spirited display to frustrate the Scottish Premiership side until Gogic headed home from Greg Kiltie’s corner after 71 minutes.

The Paisley outfit spurned several good opportunities, with Hearts loanee Harry Stone impressing in goal for the visitors.

St Mirren, who handed a debut to Celtic loanee Kwon Hyeok-kyu, dominated possession from the start, with their first real chance arriving in the 12th minute when captain Marcus Fraser’s header was tipped over by Stone.

The hosts looked to have broken the deadlock after 19 minutes through Greg Kiltie. Jonah Ayunga found space beyond the defence and his shot across goal was parried by Stone and Kiltie tapped into an empty net as the linesman raised his flag.

It appeared an incredibly tight decision but with no VAR in operation, the goal was disallowed.

Queens barely ventured into their opponents’ half during the opening half hour but Lewis Gibson spurned a promising counter-attack opportunity when he dallied on the ball in the box and Fraser made an excellent block.

The visitors’ back five were frustrating the hosts and they were forced to try their luck from range when the dangerous Kiltie fired just wide of the post on the half hour.

Queens did carry a threat on the break, though, and Lee Connolly should have scored from six yards but he inexplicably tried to take a touch and the danger was cleared.

St Mirren started the second half in the ascendancy and Elvis Bwomono was denied a certain goal with a rasping shot by a superb goal-line clearance from Efe Ambrose.

The visitors began to ramp up the pressure and Scott Tanser saw a stunning effort smash off the crossbar after 54 minutes.

The game became scrsappy after a bright start to the second half, but St Mirren eventually opened the scoring when Gogic powered a header past Stone.

Queens looked deflated and barely threatened Zach Hemming as St Mirren comfortably saw out the final 20 minutes.

Motherwell overcame a spirited showing by League One Alloa to progress into the last-16 of the Scottish Gas Scottish Cup after a 3-1 victory.

After the visitors found themselves behind after just 48 seconds, Conor Sammon would coolly curl home to bring them level with 27 minutes on the clock.

There was a nervous air around Fir Park, though Georgie Gent’s goal on the hour-mark and Blair Spittal’s sublime free-kick with three minutes left secured Well’s place in the next round.

The hosts made the ideal start when they opened the scoring after just 48 seconds. Adam Montgomery did well to pick out Spittal and his effort crept over the line after crashing off the underside of the crossbar.

Stuart Kettlewell’s side looked in complete command, though they would be stunned as Alloa struck on the break.

Sammon latched on to Taylor Steven’s flick-on and the striker punished his former side with a curling shot beyond Liam Kelly.

Suddenly, there was a nervousness about Well and the home supporters voiced their displeasure at their side’s performance on the half-time whistle.

Early in the second half, it took an excellent low save from Kelly to keep out Quinn Coulson’s header from finding the bottom corner – forcing Kettlewell to look to his bench.

Lennon Miller was introduced for his first appearance in almost three months – and it was to provide the spark Motherwell desperately required.

On the hour mark, Harry Paton slipped the ball into the path of the onrushing Gent who slammed low beyond Morrison to restore their lead.

Gent was involved minutes later when he pounced on Euan Deveney’s poor pass before being brought down by Scott Taggart.

John Beaton was quick to point to the spot but Spittal’s penalty was brilliantly parried away by Morrison.

Keen to avoid being pegged back for a second time, the Premiership side sought further goals. Miller’s strike from distance flew inches past the post before Montgomery then shot into the arms of the Alloa keeper.

Andy Halliday was introduced from the bench for the final 13 minutes and the game would be put beyond doubt when Spittal added his second of the afternoon with an unstoppable free-kick into the corner.

Two goals in the opening three minutes sent Kilmarnock on their way to a comfortable 2-0 victory over Dundee in the fourth round of the Scottish Cup.

Kyle Vassell got the hosts off to the dream start after just 20 seconds, nipping in after Dundee goalkeeper Adam Legzdins and captain Joe Shaughnessy had failed to clear, before Marley Watkins’ header two minutes later extended the lead over their stunned visitors.

Dundee had a goal disallowed through Luke McCowan but they were unable to threaten a comeback as Kilmarnock secured a deserved win.

Killie boss Derek McInnes had made just two changes from their last match against Rangers before the winter break, bringing in David Watson and giving a first start to goalkeeper Kieron O’Hara.

Dundee, meanwhile, made three changes with Legzdins, Lee Ashcroft and new loan signing Dara Costelloe in from the start.

It was a first appearance of the season for Legzdins and he endured a nightmare start, failing to come out to collect a simple David Watson pass, allowing Vassell the chance to prod home within the opening minute.

The visitors were shell-shocked and it soon got worse for them as Watkins powered home a header from an inviting Danny Armstrong cross to make it 2-0 in the third minute.

In a frantic opening to the match, Dundee thought they had got back into the match after seven minutes as McCowan’s shot from distance found the net via a deflection but referee Don Robertson had spotted an offside infringement inside the packed Killie box.

The game settled down a touch after the crazy opening 10 minutes, with Dundee enjoying more of the ball without troubling O’Hara.

Both sides looked dangerous from set-pieces and Watkins should have grabbed his second with a header from another Armstrong cross, while Dundee debutant Costelloe also missed a golden headed opportunity from a McCowan delivery.

Legzdins’ difficult afternoon ended in disappointment as he was forced off after 37 minutes and replaced by Harrison Sharp.

McCowan was looking the most likely for the away side and his fizzing shot went narrowly wide of the post in the 45th minute but it remained 2-0 at the break.

After an end-to-end opening period, the second half proved a cagier affair with neither side creating any chances of note until Matty Kennedy’s long-range drive in the 64th minute forced Sharp into a smart stop.

Vassell should have put the game beyond any doubt as he went through on goal in the 70th minute but his touch took him wide and allowed Sharp to make a routine save.

The Killie captain also tested Sharp with a header from the resulting corner but he was again unable to add to his earlier goal.

Dundee handed a debut to Curtis Main and Kilmarnock gave their own to Greg Stewart following his re-signing for the club, in a second half that lacked any fluidity.

O’Hara had to be alert to keep out an Owen Dodgson cross in the dying moments but the goalkeeper managed to maintain his clean sheet as Kilmarnock saw out the game comfortably to secure their safe passage into the fifth round.

Dan Mackay handed Livingston their first win in 14 games as the Premiership side came from behind to beat Raith Rovers 2-1.

The on-loan Hibs forward headed home in the 82nd minute of an entertaining contest to send the Lions into the Scottish Cup fifth round.

Mackay, who replaced the injured Cristian Montano in the first half, also set up Jamie Brandon for his team’s equaliser after Jack Hamilton gave Championship title hopefuls Raith the lead after only five minutes.

Rovers more than held their own against their top-flight counterparts, who also missed a first-half penalty through Andrew Shinnie, but the hosts showed great character to earn a much-needed morale-boosting win.

Raith came flying out of the blocks and had two good chances even before they broke the deadlock.

Lewis Vaughan got the byline and swung in a low teasing cross that Hamilton failed to bundle in from close range.

The pair combined again moments later as hitman Hamilton nodded the ball down to his team-mate but Vaughan’s shot from close range was repelled by Shamal George.

The Lions failed to heed those warnings and Hamilton opened the scoring.

Ross Millen lumped a long ball forward and the striker had time to chest it down before firing a low shot through the legs of Lions goalkeeper George.

Livingston finally began to settle following an erratic start but it was Raith who went close to adding a second.

Aidan Connolly launched a left-footed drive from outside the box just past the post.

Livingston then wasted a great chance to level from the penalty spot in the 21st minute.

Shinnie was brought down by Kyle Turner after dispossessing the midfielder.

The experienced midfielder took the spot kick himself but his effort hit the post and rebounded off keeper Kevin Dabrowski before rolling to safety.

But Livingston did level in the 33rd minute through Brandon. ]

Mackay, who only came on for the injured Montano minutes earlier, found the wing-back at the back post and Brandon lashed a shot past Dabrowski.

The action was end-to-end in the second half too. Raith had chances through Connolly and Callum Smith before Vaughan hit a free-kick over the bar.

At the other end Stephen Kelly should have at least hit the target from 12 yards when he connected with Mackay’s cut back but the midfielder fired well over.

Raith full-back Liam Dick then had a shot palmed over before the hosts grabbed the winner.

Kelly lifted a teasing cross into the area and Mackay headed a powerful effort past Dabrowski from six yards.

A Nikolay Todorov goal nine minutes into the second half was enough for Championship Airdrieonians pull off a shock and knock Premiership outfit St Johnstone out of the Scottish Gas Scottish Cup with a 1-0 win.

Todorov pounced from 10 yards to score his fourth goal in as many matches after Liam McStravick’s cross was hooked back in at the far post.

St Johnstone should have heeded the early warning signs after a poor backpass by Saints Midfielder Graham Carey let in home captain Adam Frizzell.

He ran into the box and got a shot away but it produced a superb save from Bulgarian goalkeeper Dimitar Mitov, who dived low to his right-hand side to keep it out.

Airdrie had claims for a penalty when a low cross from the left came off a St Johnstone player inside the area but referee Kevin Clancy quickly turned down the appeal.

St Johnstone had chances and new signing Benjamin Kimpioka thought he was going to mark his debut with a goal when he rounded Airdrie keeper Josh Rae, but the Swedish striker ran out of pitch as he tried to find the back of the net.

In the second half, Mason Hancock header over Charlie Telfer’s free-kick, before Todorov fired home from inside the area to put Airdrie 1-0 up.

Craig Levein’s side pressed for an equaliser with striker Kimpioka racing through on goal, but Rae was quickly off his line to tackle him. Kimpioka went down under the challenge but referee Kevin Clancy was not interested.

Carey then had a 20-yard strike saved by Rae as the home side held on.

Partick Thistle avenged their Premiership play-off loss to Ross County by knocking the Staggies out of the Scottish Cup with a 3-0 victory.

Former County striker Brian Graham opened the scoring for the visitors, with Scott Robinson making it 2-0 in the closing stages of the first half.

A stunning finish from Stuart Bannigan shortly after the restart put the result beyond doubt.

If memories of their last trip to Dingwall were still fresh in Partick’s minds it did not show early on as the visitors started on the front foot.

Some neat passing moves did not lead to clear-cut chances, though, and both goalkeepers had a quiet half hour.

New Ross County signing Eli King did get Jamie Sneddon scrambling across his line with an effort from a long way out that went just wide of the mark, before Partick took the lead.

A cross from Aidan Fitzpatrick on the left flank found its way to Graham at the back post, with the experienced forward tapping in.

Partick extended their advantage with the last move of the first half. Kerr McInroy charged onto a cutback to the corner of the box and saw his effort blocked into the path of Robinson, who was left with another simple finish.

Derek Adams made a triple change at the break to try and add some attacking impetus, bringing on James Brown, Jay Henderson and Jordan White, and it certainly seemed to make a difference.

Within five minutes of the restart, Yan Dhanda, Henderson and White had all had good chances – but none of them could find a way past Sneddon.

Any momentum County had been building was quickly dismissed when Stuart Bannigan scored a superb third in the 54th minute.

The ball sat up nicely for the midfielder 25 yards out and he volleyed the ball past George Wickens and into the bottom corner to seal Partick’s progress.

Christian Doidge helped Hibernian avoid Scottish Gas Scottish Cup humiliation with a 1-0 fourth-round victory against League Two side Forfar.

A saved Joe Newell penalty along with plenty of missed chances led to a frustrating afternoon for the Premiership side before Doidge rose highest to grab the winner in the 69th minute.

Lewis Stevenson returned to the starting line-up as Nick Montgomery made three changes from their last outing before the winter break against Motherwell alongside James Jeggo and Rudi Molotnikov.

Roberto Nditi and Josh Skelly came in for the Station Park side as Ray McKinnon played a 4-5-1 with the hope of catching his opponents on the break.

Hibs were under the cosh immediately and were given a fright twice within quick succession on three minutes. An Andy Munro knockdown was smashed goalwards by Seb Ross, forcing David Marshall to clip the ball past the left-hand post, before a Stuart Morrison header from the subsequent corner smacked off the right post.

Forfar continued to be in the ascendancy in the opening exchanges with Ross swinging a corner towards Matty Allan that was cleared off the line by Doidge before Mark Whatley fired over.

The Easter Road outfit started to threaten as the half progressed when a Jair Tavares cross found Molotnikov who steered his header wide.

The Edinburgh club were huffing and puffing for that elusive opener and were awarded a penalty on 31 minutes after Nditi fouled Stevenson inside the area. Newell stepped up from 12 yards but a superb save from Marc McCallum denied the Hibs playmaker.

After an underwhelming opening half, Hibs looked to create a spark just a few minutes after the restart as Elie Youan played the ball across goal for Doidge but it evaded the Englishman.

Despite a difference of three leagues between the sides, the hosts almost broke the deadlock on 57 minutes with Ross flashing an effort narrowly wide.

The opener finally came on 69 minutes for the Premiership side. A Tavares free-kick from the left gave the home defence problems and Doidge jumped above McCallum to guide his header into an empty net.

Steven Naismith was delighted to see Scotland goalkeeper Craig Gordon come through his first competitive outing in 13 months as Hearts scrambled past cinch League Two side Spartans to reach the fifth round of the Scottish Gas Scottish Cup.

The 41-year-old’s career looked in jeopardy when he suffered a double leg-break away to Dundee United on Christmas Eve of 2022, but after a stirring recovery, he returned to the Hearts squad last month and was then rewarded with a start for the short trip across Edinburgh to Ainslie Park.

Gordon made one impressive first-half save to deny Spartans’ Callum Booth but he was helpless as James Craigen’s stunning second-half strike cancelled out Kenneth Vargas’s early opener before Hearts defender Frankie Kent secured a 2-1 win with a stoppage-time header.

“It was good to get him involved in a competitive game and he has the save in the first half which was a good one,” said manager Naismith.

“He probably didn’t have that much to do but it is brilliant to have him back.

“I think that will be good for him. Getting back in the swing of it is probably the main thing he will take.

“I’ve seen him for about a month or so now and I’m comfortable that he’s back to where he was.

“That was always going to be the question mark for someone his age but he has shown that.

“Even his reflexes for the save today, he’s an unbelievable footballer and person. We will cherish him for as long as he can play.”

Asked if Zander Clark, who has deputised for Gordon throughout his absence, will return for Tuesday’s cinch Premiership match at home to Dundee, Naismith said: “We’ll see.”

Hearts talisman Lawrence Shankland, whose future has been the subject of intense speculation recently, missed the Spartans match, with Naismith claiming the 18-goal striker was out due to illness.

“He’s been ill for two days,” said the manager. “On the advice of the medical staff, he hasn’t been in the building because he isn’t wanting to spread it. I don’t know whether he will make Tuesday or not. We will wait and see.”

Naismith was content with the way Hearts played overall even though they needed a last-gasp goal to avoid being taken to extra-time by their fourth-tier hosts.

“I wouldn’t say it was a relief,” he said. “I think when they score we continued to keep doing the same stuff, we didn’t start firing long balls and panic. That’s the positive for us.”

Spartans boss Dougie Samuel was proud of his team for giving themselves a chance of a famous upset.

“I was quite emotional after the game just to scan the stadium and see what we’d been able to put on,” he said.

“For the players to go out and produce a performance that kept us in the game and for a wee while in the second half had people daring to dream says everything about their character. I couldn’t be prouder of them.”

Scotland goalkeeper Craig Gordon made his first appearance in 13 months as Hearts scrambled into the fifth round of the Scottish Gas Scottish Cup following a stoppage-time Frankie Kent winner away to cinch League Two side Spartans.

The Jambos looked set for a smooth afternoon against their Edinburgh counterparts when Kenneth Vargas opened the scoring in the 13th minute but a stunning equaliser from James Craigen had the part-time hosts dreaming of a famous result.

Centre-back Kent, however, picked the perfect moment to score his first goal for the Jambos to secure a 2-1 victory and spare his team-mates and manager Steven Naismith from what would have been stinging criticism.

Gordon, playing his first match since suffering a career-threatening double leg-break on Christmas Eve of 2022, was handed the captaincy on his return, with Lawrence Shankland – skipper in the goalkeeper’s absence – missing out through injury.

Hearts’ new right-back Dexter Lembikisa, who joined on loan from Wolves earlier this month, was named among the substitutes and would come on in the 59th minute.

Gordon had such a comfortable opening to proceedings that by the time he first touched the ball his team had already moved into a 13th-minute lead through Vargas.

The Costa Rican forward was perfectly stationed at the back post to nod in from six yards out following an inswinging cross from the left by Alan Forrest.

Hearts dominated possession early on but Gordon was called into action in the 21st minute when he acrobatically tipped over a powerful, swerving 20-yard strike from Callum Booth.

The Jambos remained on top, however, and Forrest saw a couple of low shots from the edge of the box in quick succession saved by Spartans keeper Blair Carswell, whose father Allan was the Hearts goalkeeping coach when the Jambos last won the Scottish Cup 12 years ago.

At the other end, a promising attack brought a rare sight of goal for Spartans but Jamie Dishington shot high over from 25 yards out.

Vargas looked set to double his tally just before the break when he got on the end of a lovely clipped cross from Alex Cochrane in a central position 10 yards out but the forward was denied by an excellent save from Carswell.

The Spartans keeper then produced another impressive stop to keep out Vargas’s shot from the edge of the box early in the second half.

Kent then headed wide from Jorge Grant’s corner before Cochrane saw a shot from distance saved by the outstanding Carswell.

Hearts were made to rue their inability to find a second goal when Craigen volleyed home a magnificent equaliser from the edge of the box, with Gordon left rooted to the spot as the ball flew into his top right-hand corner.

With Spartans generally holding firm in the face of Hearts’ pressure in the closing stages, the tie looked all set for extra time until Kent nodded in Cochrane’s corner.

Aberdeen manager Barry Robson cautioned Bojan Miovski against moving on too soon after the North Macedonia striker’s classy finish sent the Dons on their way to a 2-0 Scottish Gas Scottish Cup win over Clyde.

Goals in each half from Miovski and Nicky Devlin eased Aberdeen into the fifth round after Connor Young had hit the post for Clyde.

Miovski opened the scoring in the 32nd minute with an instinctive first-time finish to net his 16th goal of the season.

The 24-year-old has been linked with several clubs but is contracted until 2026 and Robson believes he will continue to improve.

“The first thing we spoke about with him when we came in is we need to get your numbers up in everything you do – forward runs, diagonal runs, pressing stats, everything,” he said.

“He will probably cover double what he did in high-intensity running when we first came in and that’s incredible from him, because that’s what gets him the goals.

“He is enjoying his football and that’s the most important thing. He enjoys playing for us, we try and create a lot of chances for him and we just need to keep feeding him.

“What you have got to remember, everybody thinks that he wants to go and someone is going to offer this – he is in a really good moment in his career and you don’t want to jump too quickly. It’s a really important time for him and he is developing and getting better.

“Don’t try and harm that in any way. He is at a place where he is loved, with people round about him that can improve him, and he is still contracted and I think he is in a good place.”

Clyde manager Ian McCall felt his side acquitted themselves well.

“Aberdeen deserved to win but we didn’t allow them many chances,” McCall said. “It’s a really good finish from Miovski, there’s only (Lawrence) Shankland and Kyogo better than him in Scotland.

“We had the one that hit the post and a couple of chances to make it interesting. It would have been interesting if the one that hit the post went in.”

Aberdeen survived an early scare before avoiding another Scottish Gas Scottish Cup shock as they won 2-0 at Clyde.

The cinch League 2 bottom side hit the post before goals in each half from Bojan Miovski and Nicky Devlin saw Barry Robson’s side put their name in the hat for Sunday night’s fifth-round draw.

The Dons suffered the worst defeat in their history at this stage of last season’s tournament when they lost 1-0 against seventh-tier Darvel. That result, plus a 6-0 loss against Hibernian five days later, saw Jim Goodwin depart and Robson installed as manager, initially on an interim basis.

Robson had faced some pressure himself before three wins from the last four cinch Premiership games heading into the winter break saw the Dons move up to eighth. The Dons manager picked the same team and formation that helped them beat Ross County earlier this month, persisting with a back four.

There would still have been some trepidation among the Dons fans who headed to Hamilton and possibly some flashbacks to 361 days ago in Ayrshire when Clyde hit the frame of the goal midway through the first half.

It was the first time Ian McCall’s side had attacked with numbers and front pair Martin Rennie and Connor Young combined well on the edge of the box before the latter curled a shot off the foot of the post with Kelle Roos beaten.

Aberdeen had dominated possession until then without threatening but they came close moments later when Dante Polvara’s effort took a major deflection and spun just wide.

The breakthrough came in the 32nd minute after Jamie McGrath turned and crossed from the left side of the box. Devlin chested into path of Miovski who guided a first-time effort into the corner of the net from 12 yards.

The North Macedonia international volleyed against the bar just before the break following McGrath’s lofted pass and Aberdeen continued to dominate after the interval.

Leighton Clarkson twice threatened from long range either side of referee Euan Anderson waving away penalty claims when Darren Hynes appeared to haul down McGrath.

The visitors soon had their two-goal cushion when Polvara set up Devlin to fire into the far corner as Aberdeen attacked with pace in the 57th minute.

Clyde briefly threatened to make a game of it when Ji Stevenson had a shot blocked and Craig Howie volleyed over after the resulting corner.

Shayden Morris missed an excellent late chance at the other end, although only after Anderson played on despite Clyde defender Peter Grant being left on the ground with a facial injury after being forearm-smashed by Pape Gueye.

Steven Naismith is hoping to see several other Hearts players pledge their futures to the club in the coming weeks after Alan Forrest signed a new contract until 2026.

The 27-year-old’s initial deal was due to expire this summer, but he has earned an extension after establishing himself as a key man for the Jambos this term.

Naismith praised Forrest for the way he has handled the step up since moving to Hearts from Livingston in 2022.

“Alan needed to prove to the fans he’s good enough and understand the demands at the club and I think over his time here he’s done that,” said the manager.

“I think this period is the most consistent he’s been. That’s something I challenged him with at the start of the season in terms of impacting games more and needing to be one of the most consistent performers, and he’s done that as well.

“It’s great that we’re keeping a valuable asset, but Alan deserves it more than a lot of the boys in the group.” 

Hearts are in contract talks with several other players, including Craig Gordon, Beni Baningime, Craig Halkett and Lawrence Shankland.

“There are a few more (beyond those listed) that we’re talking to, whether it be younger players in the full-time environment or first-team players, but I’m hoping a fair few will have signed new contracts in the coming weeks,” said Naismith.

Shankland’s future has been the main talking point among supporters, with the free-scoring forward’s current deal expiring in the summer of 2025.

“We’ve been in conversations for weeks,” said Naismith. “We’ve not had any interest or offers.

“I think a lot of that speculation is coming from outside, punditry and the media. Lawrence is playing the best football of his life and he needs to weigh up the pros of staying at Hearts while also understanding that it’s a short career.

“He’s got to do the best he can for him and his family. Everybody within the club and supporters need to appreciate that and respect it and just enjoy him while he’s here, whether that’s for the rest of this contract or beyond.”

Andy Halliday’s Hearts career effectively ended on Friday after he joined Motherwell on loan until the end of the season, with a view to making the move permanent when his Jambos deal expires.

“Andy’s found it tough to get his minutes in the first half of the season, but professionally he’s been top level in training,” said Naismith.

“At his age he wants to play. There might be a couple of others who go out, but there’s no pressure from the club to lose any players.”

Hearts kick off their Scottish Gas Scottish Cup campaign with a short trip to northern Edinburgh to face cinch League Two side Spartans on Saturday.

“It will be an awkward game,” said Naismith. “You’ve got the beauty of the Scottish Cup and going to new surroundings, which will be tricky.

“There’s also the expectation that we should just turn up and roll these teams over, but it’s never the case.

“Nowadays, in the professional game, the athleticism and organisation of teams is very good.

“We’ve got a good understanding of Spartans because we’ve got a good link with them as a club.

“Our B team play their games there (at Ainslie Park), they’re a fantastic community club and we played them earlier in the season in a bounce game. It will be a tough game.”

Hibernian manager Nick Montgomery revealed he is aiming to find more new recruits like Myziane Maolida who have the “hunger” to get their career back on track as he runs the rule over former Tottenham midfielder Luke Amos.

The Easter Road manager was thrilled to land Maolida on loan from Hertha Berlin until the end of the season, with the 24-year-old attacker having been the subject of an £8million transfer from Lyon to Nice in 2018 and then another multi-million switch to the German capital in 2021.

The French-born Comoros international has lost his way in recent seasons but Montgomery feels the Hibees can benefit from the “massively talented” loanee’s desire to get back on track.

“Myziane’s had some big-money moves but we had honest conversations before the loan happened and he probably feels everything was given to him a little bit early,” explained the Hibs boss.

“Maybe at times he didn’t really grasp the opportunity. Now he’s really hungry to get his career back on track and for us to be able to attract a player like that speaks volumes for the club. I’m really excited about the impact he can make.

“A perfect scenario is a player that wants to prove people wrong. The reality is we don’t get a player of his ability on the budget we have unless he really wants to play for the club.

“He had a lot of options to go to England, France and Belgium but I spoke to him and explained what I wanted from him and I think he just has to get enjoying his football again.

“I think it’s really powerful to bring a player in who is a perfect age at 24 years old and wants to prove people wrong and get his career back on track.

“I knew this window was going to be tight (budget-wise) and that we would have to be creative to bring players like Myziane. He’s a one-off situation but we need to keep looking for situations like that.”

Maolida is unlikely to be involved in Saturday’s Scottish Gas Scottish Cup fourth-round tie away to cinch League Two strugglers Forfar as he is still awaiting his work permit.

Another player on Hibs’ radar who is looking to resurrect their career is 26-year-old former Tottenham midfielder Amos, who has been without a club since leaving QPR at the end of the season.

“You don’t play 150-plus games in the English Championship unless you’re a good player,” said Montgomery.

“He’s had a couple of injuries and found himself not signing for anybody at the start of the season but he’s got himself back fit and he’s been training with Tottenham Under-23s.

“We were going to take him to Dubai (for their recent warm-weather training camp) but it was probably a little bit too soon so he’s up training with us just now.

“He’s a very good player and it’s very rare that you have a player of that quality who is looking for a platform to get back on track so we’ll have a look and see how that one goes.”

Celtic manager Brendan Rodgers is unaware of any concrete interest in Matt O’Riley and believes the midfielder is happy to continue improving in his team.

Reports claim Spanish league leaders Girona are considering making a move for the Denmark international ahead of the transfer deadline.

But the 23-year-old signed a new contract earlier in the season that ties him to Glasgow until 2027 and appears focused on his game.

Rodgers said: “I’m not aware of any (interest). But it’s natural, if you’ve got good players then of course they will attract attention. But I’m not focused on that at all.

“We don’t want to be losing any (of our best players). The plan was to add to the squad and that’s still the plan.

“If a player doesn’t want to be here then my experience is you are better off moving them on. It’s as simple as that.

“Of course the club is in a really strong position with no need to sell and no thoughts of selling.

“Matt is really, really happy here. He signed a new deal, he has really progressed, he is into double figures now in goals, and his assists are there.

“For him as a young player, he is a brilliant professional, all he wants to do is improve and he can see the improvement here. Just take it day by day and assess it from there.”

In terms of incomings, Rodgers was looking for quality rather than quantity this month and believes he has added that in former Ajax and Bayern Munich reserve winger Nicolas Kuhn.

“There’s a lot of work going on and hopefully before the window shuts, we can improve the squad,” he said.

“It normally goes right through to the end. I am quite relaxed on it. I know what we need to improve but unless it’s the right type of quality and player then we won’t be in a rush to do anything.

“And likewise if something comes in too late that doesn’t suit the squad and how strong we are then we won’t need to do anything.

“If it was just about numbers we could have had people in on January 1, but it’s not. It’s about getting quality in and that can take time.

“Nicolas has had that big-club experience before. He is a very talented player. Now he is at an age where he has done very well with Rapid Vienna and can make that next step.

“He fits the profile in terms of how we work – he is super quick, direct, dynamic and we feel we can continually improve his game.

Neither Kuhn nor Cameron Carter-Vickers, who is on his way back from a hamstring strain, will play in Sunday’s Scottish Gas Scottish Cup fourth-round tie against Buckie Thistle.

Rodgers said: “Nic won’t be involved at the weekend. He had actually been quite a period out. He had an operation on his teeth so he lost a bit of strength. But he will be okay for Ross County.

“Cam won’t be involved this weekend but by Ross County he will be fine.

“He has been out on the field for a little while. It’s been a frustrating period for him in the opening part of the season, he has picked up some niggles on the back of not having a full pre-season. But we are really hoping he can stay fit and strong for the second part.”

Tony Docherty does not have to look back too far to recognise how difficult a task Dundee face against Kilmarnock in the Scottish Gas Scottish Cup at Rugby Park on Saturday.

The Taysiders’ last outing was at the same venue on December 30 where a last-gasp leveller from captain Joe Shaughnessy in the 2-2 cinch Premiership draw took a point back to Dens Park.

The two sides also drew 2-2 in Dundee in September when Zak Rudden’s strike in the second minute of stoppage time for the 10-man hosts gave The Dee a share of the spoils again.

Boss Docherty, formerly a long-time assistant to Killie boss Derek McInnes, said: “To get anywhere in the cup you have to play difficult teams in difficult venues and I don’t think you would get a more difficult one outwith the Old Firm than Kilmarnock away from home, on their pitch.

“We’ve just played them in our most recent game so we know the task ahead of us and we know we’ll have to be our best and do a lot of things right to progress.

“We’ve got a really difficult game ahead of us. But if we apply ourselves like we had the previous two encounters against Kilmarnock – listen, it will be a terrific game, a really competitive match – hopefully we can edge it.

“The first game we played at Dens, I thought we were the better team until the sending off and then they took ownership of the game a wee bit, but we managed to recover with a true spirit I’ve got within the group.

“I thought for the majority of the game down there, certainly first half, we played really well.

“Again Kilmarnock, good side, a good manager, they came at us but we again come up with answers to get that that goal against them.

“It has been good games against them. It’s two very competitive teams with good players on show and I don’t expect anything different this Saturday.

“I know Derek well and he knows me. It will be competitive, two teams will be set up to go and win the tie and get to the next round.

“So for me, it’s the tie of the round. I know there’s other games being televised but for me it’s a tie  of the round, particularly with reference to the last two games that we’ve had.

“But as I said, there’s a lot of things that we’ll need to do right to progress but that the intention, to progress to the next round.”

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