Connor Goldson heaped praise on James Tavernier after the Rangers captain scored his 115th goal for the club to secure the Viaplay Cup.

The Gers right-back hooked in an impressively-executed strike from a Borna Barisic cross to settle Sunday’s Hampden showdown with Aberdeen in the 76th minute.

Tavernier has made a habit of popping up with huge goals since moving to Rangers from Wigan eight-and-a-half years ago, and fellow defender Goldson feels his colleague has become a colossal influence at Ibrox.


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“This football club won’t appreciate James Tavernier until James Tavernier’s not here,” said Goldson. “For a right-back to do the numbers he does… it’s not one season, it’s year after year after year.


“He started this season slow, I don’t think he scored many at the start but he’s on a hot streak now and long may it continue.

“The main thing about playing for this football club is adding numbers to the board. That board was there long before we were here and will be there a long time after, so to say you’ve had a part in adding numbers on to that is obviously huge.”

Sunday’s victory means long-serving Tavernier has now won each of the three major trophies in his time in Scotland after leading Gers to the Premiership title in 2021 and the Scottish Cup in 2022.

The goal-scorer savoured a perfect ending to a week in which the Ibrox side also sealed top spot in their Europa League group with a 3-2 victory away to Real Betis.

“It’s obviously long overdue but I’m really proud of the team,” Tavernier said of the Viaplay Cup success. “It was probably closer than it was expected to be but we knew if we limited their chances, we would create our own.

“I’m really happy to see this week out by topping the (Europa League) group and getting our hands on the first silverware this season.

“I’m delighted that all of us have managed to get our hands on the first silverware this season. That should give us real good momentum to build on.”

City rivals Celtic have lost their last two matches, allowing Rangers – who previously seemed out of contention – to haul themselves back into the title race.

The Gers are now within five points of the Hoops with two games in hand, the first of which comes at home to St Johnstone on Wednesday.

Tavernier refused to entertain talk of Celtic’s recent dip, preferring to keep the focus on his own team.

“There’s plenty points to play for,” he said. “We’ve just got to concentrate on ourselves and focus on knocking out the wins. It gets decided in May.

“We’ll try our hardest and see where it takes us. We’ve always got determination, no matter what. We play for a club that’s rich in history with trophies and we want to bring success to the club and our fans.”

Stefan Gartenmann admitted Aberdeen lacked the ruthlessness to trouble Rangers in Sunday’s Viaplay Cup final defeat.

The Dons lost 1-0 after Gers captain James Tavernier scored the only goal of the Hampden showdown in the 76th minute.

Defender Gartenmann felt his team showed the required commitment but rued the fact they were unable to force a save out of Ibrox goalkeeper Jack Butland.

“We didn’t have what it took today,” said the Dane. “We needed to test their keeper and defence a bit more.

“We had the feeling whenever we got close to their box that there was something to be picked up there.

“But obviously we didn’t create the chances and the stress in their box that was needed.

“They were just a little bit better at doing that at the other end.

“I think we gave everything out there. It wasn’t the effort we lacked, it was the quality in the last few situations.

“The little touch in the box, the cross hitting the right player, the pass in the deciding situations.

“We had a few counter-attacks where the pass just needed to have that little bit extra finish to it.

“That was probably the difference between us and Rangers today.”

Aberdeen’s cup final disappointment came just a few days after the final match of their Europa Conference League campaign against Eintracht Frankfurt.

Their focus now turns to trying to improve their fortunes in the cinch Premiership.

The Dons are 10th in the table but have a chance to lift the gloom and ease their predicament in the league when they host bottom-of-the-table Livingston on Wednesday.

“There is another game on Wednesday, that is the perfect chance to get back up,” said Gartenmann.

“We can sit in there and feel sorry for ourselves, and we probably will for the next hours, but then we have to move on.

“Football is tough, there will always be a loser in a final like this and today it was us.

“But we just need to take it out on Livingston on Wednesday, that’s the only thing we can do right now.

“The two hours after a game like this you’re just disappointed and you don’t know what to do with yourself.

“But that feeling we have in there right now, we need to try and avoid that as much as possible.

“That’s the worst feeling you can have as a football player.

“We need to now go and remember that feeling and try and avoid it as much as possible.”

James Tavernier was the Rangers hero as the Light Blues picked up their first trophy of the Philippe Clement era with a 1-0 Viaplay Cup final win over Aberdeen.

The prolific Ibrox skipper rifled in the winner in the 75th minute of a hard-fought encounter at Hampden Park to hand his Belgian boss his first trophy after just a few months at Ibrox.

The victory completed the clean sweep of domestic trophy wins for the full-back and it also meant Clement remains unbeaten in 14 games since taking over from Michael Beale in October.

It was the 28th time the Ibrox club have won the trophy – the first since 2011 – and they still have interest in the title and Europa League this season, with the Scottish Cup yet to start, so Gers fans will be hoping more success is on its way.

Both sides went into the game on a wet and windy Glasgow afternoon in fine fettle.

Rangers’ stunning 3-2 win away to Real Betis on Thursday night took them into the last 16 of the Europa League. Although the Dons were already out of the Europa Conference League, their 2-0 win over Eintracht Frankfurt was more than commendable.

There was a further boost with the return of forward Bojan Miovski from a hamstring issue while skipper Graeme Shinnie, Leighton Clarkson, Jamie McGrath, Nicky Devlin, Richard Jensen and Jonny Hayes also returned.

Leon Balogun, Todd Cantwell and Dujon Sterling were back for Rangers, who had not beaten their opponents in two games this season.

However, both sides were below par in the first half.

On the half-hour mark Gers attacker Abdallah Sima took a pass from Cantwell inside the Aberdeen box but his low drive on the turn, no more than decent, was saved by Dons keeper Kelle Roos.

Rangers winger Ross McCausland had the ball in the Aberdeen net in the 39th minute but referee Don Robertson had blown for an infringement inside the Dons box.

The first half ended with Aberdeen’s Stefan Gartenmann heading Clarkson’s free-kick wide from 14 yards before McCausland missed the target with a header from a Cantwell delivery.

More was expected after the interval.

Dons attacker Ester Sokler failed to get a touch on an inviting Devlin cross from just a few yards out and at the other end, Roos blocked a shot from McCausland who was on the stretch but the corner came to nothing.

Roos then made crucial saves from a Cyriel Dessers strike and free-kicks from Tavernier and left-back Borna Barisic before Balogun flashed the ball over the bar from a Cantwell cutback.

There was a Rangers penalty appeal when a shot from substitute Scott Wright, on for McCausland, hit the top of Gartenmann’s arm but play moved on – and soon the Light Blues were ahead.

Barisic made it to the byline and his deep cross from the left landed at Tavernier, who took a touch and fired it in off the ground past Roos to send the blue section of Hampden into raptures.

Aberdeen battled back and there were some nervy moments in the Gers defence. Close to the end of six added minutes, there was a goalmouth melee in the Rangers box involving several players  following a corner – a VAR check for a possible red card offence came to nothing, although it was not clear who was at risk.

The final whistle soon followed, as did Light Blue celebrations.

Graeme Shinnie is desperate to lift the Viaplay Cup trophy as Aberdeen captain after being on the losing side the last time the Dons won it almost a decade ago.

The 32-year-old was playing for Inverness when they lost on penalties to the Pittodrie side in the League Cup final following a goalless draw at Celtic Park in March 2014.

Shinnie and his Caley Thistle colleagues bounced back to win the Scottish Cup by beating Falkirk just over a year later in what was his last game as captain of the Highland outfit before joining Aberdeen for his first spell.

Now back at Pittodrie for a second stint after a couple of years in England, the skipper would love to win his first trophy in Aberdeen colours by defeating Rangers at Hampden on Sunday.

“In football lifting trophies is some of the best memories you’ll ever have, as Aberdeen fans know from the 2014 cup final,” he told Aberdeen TV.

“It wasn’t a great final, was it? It was a bit nervy, nobody really wanted to attack and take the game by the scruff of the neck. And to lose that on penalties was a blow for Inverness.

“At that time we were flying high, we were a good team. We had almost built up to that moment and missing out at that time at Inverness, it probably felt like our best opportunity had gone.

“But luckily we got another one, and to lift the Scottish Cup at that age, 23, was a great feeling and a great honour.

“It happened so early in my career, it feels like a long time ago but at the end of my career, that is a moment I’ll look back on.

“If I could get my hands on the other cup now, it would be a cup double which would be great memories to look back on.”

Aberdeen are in the bottom half of the cinch Premiership with just four wins from their 15 league matches so far.

However, their form in the cup, allied to some strong performances in Europe, gives them hope that they can pull off an upset against a Rangers side they have already taken four points from in their two league meetings.

“Form doesn’t matter,” he said. “Cup games are very different. It’s a different game, there’s a prize at the end of it, there’s a different atmosphere in the ground, it’s at Hampden so it’s a neutral venue.

“I think we all know as a squad that we’re not where we want to be in terms of our league form, it’s not been good enough.

“Have we found it tough after some of the European games? Probably. It’s been a different challenge for the squad, but we need to do better. I think throughout the season there has been a lot of good performances, especially in Europe.

“We’re disappointed we didn’t take more out of the games because performance-wise some of them have been very good. We obviously beat Rangers away which was another top performance but we’ve let ourselves down in some of the other matches.

“It’s that kind of form we need to change but going into a cup final, the full focus is on trying to win the game and win the trophy so it’s a little bit of a different mindset.”

Aberdeen top goalscorer Bojan Miovski remains at the centre of a fitness concern ahead of the Viaplay Cup final on Sunday.

Manager Barry Robson has not ruled the striker out of Thursday’s Europa Conference League game against Eintracht Frankfurt at Pittodrie. He played 77 minutes of Saturday’s 2-1 win over Hearts, scoring his 12th goal of the season.

But with no chance of qualifying for the knockout stages and silverware at stake against Rangers on Sunday, it appears inconceivable that the North Macedonia international would be risked against the German outfit.

Robson said: “We are still waiting on Bojan. We will see how he is in the morning when he gets up. Hopefully nothing too serious but we will make a decision on him on Thursday.

“It’s a hamstring issue. We will try to give him every opportunity. It’s not a serious injury. It’s not going to hold him back long term. It’s hours and days rather than weeks so we will see how he is in the morning.”

Robson made eight changes for the recent draw with HJK Helsinki and he looks set to shuffle his pack for the final European tie.

“We have a group of players who I believe in,” he said. “We need to make sure we use as many players as we can in a squad.

“In Helsinki, we took some players in and they performed really well. We just have to make sure as a squad we perform well over the next two games.

“As staff and manager that’s what we are trying to do, to make everyone as fresh as we can for the two games.”

While Robson is planning ahead for Sunday, he is keen to ensure his players are not thinking of Hampden.

“Listen, it’s not in my mind,” he said. “You are playing against Eintracht Frankfurt, one of the great sides in European football. So me and the players have to fully focus on that.

“We are not naive enough to think we don’t have to perform, because this is a big game, against some top players, so we have to be at our best.”

Midfielder Dante Polvara is eager to make the most of the chance to face the 2021 Europa League winners.

“It’s a chance to play for the club and for a lot of people to show what they can do,” he said.

“I will be just as excited for Thursday as I will be for Sunday. Of course Sunday holds other weight with us not being able to advance on Thursday but it’s going to be a privelege to play here and play against Frankfurt.

“You always want to impress no matter the occasion and even more so playing in a European game. It is a huge privilege and going toe to toe with the really big boys is an honour and something I am really excited for.

“And I am sure individually a lot of boys will be looking forward to showing what they can bring to the table.”

Aberdeen have expressed their “extreme disappointment and frustration” after their “robust” case for a 50-50 split of tickets for the Viaplay Cup final was rejected.

The Scottish Professional Football League has announced that Rangers will receive about 25,000 tickets – roughly half the capacity of Hampden – but the Dons will only be allocated up to 19,500 seats for the December 17 showpiece.

An Aberdeen statement read: “The club robustly put its case to the SPFL to treat both teams fairly with an even share of tickets, given Hampden is a neutral venue and, as such, presented an option that would split the allocation for the match evenly between both competing finalists.

“Much to our extreme disappointment and frustration, this proposal was rejected by the SPFL, who cited operational challenges and attendances at previous semi-finals/finals as the principal reasons for their determination.”

Aberdeen had proposed that they hold back five sections of the North Stand and hand back tickets to pass on to Rangers by a certain date if the demand among their fans was not evident.

An SPFL spokesperson said:  “Deciding ticketing allocations for cup finals is always a challenging task, as more fans invariably want to attend than the stadium can accommodate.

“We take a range of factors into consideration, including the number of tickets each club sells in the semi-finals, as well as their historic ticket sales in any previous League Cup finals and semi-finals.

“In addition, the design of the stadium and its ability to split sections is a major factor which influences our decisions, together with input from safety and security authorities to ensure fan safety and appropriate segregation.”

The league added that the split was broadly the same configuration as Aberdeen’s previous League Cup final appearance against Celtic five years ago.

There were 28,295 fans at the semi-final between Aberdeen and Hibernian.

The Dons were confident of selling a 50 per cent allocation given they took 43,000 supporters to Celtic Park when they last won the League Cup in 2014 by beating Inverness in the final.

John Lundstram hailed “man mountain” skipper James Tavernier after he scored a double in Rangers’ 3-1 Viaplay Cup semi-final win over Hearts at Hampden Park.

The Gers right-back opened the scoring with an assured penalty five minutes after the interval before half-time substitute Scott Wright fired in a second five minutes later.

A trademark curling free-kick from Tavernier in the 64th minute made it three, with Hearts skipper Lawrence Shankland scoring from the spot late on, as Philippe Clement’s side sealed a place in the December 17 final against Aberdeen.

Midfield Lundstram said of Tavernier: “He is some player. I don’t think I can give him any more praise.

“He is captain of the club and he gets unfair criticism sometimes from you guys (in the media) and people outside and sometimes he doesn’t get enough credit when he gets us out of tough moments.

“I can’t speak highly enough of him. He is a man mountain – when the pressure is on he steps up.”

Clement is unbeaten in five games since taking over as manager from Michael Beale last month.

Lundstram described confidence at Ibrox as “really high” and added: “He has been so good since he came in.

“It’s hard to put your finger on just one thing. He has been a breath of fresh air. The mood around the place is just so much better.

“He has been fantastic with everyone and has emphasised how important everyone is in the group.”

Rangers manager Michael Beale hailed a “good night” after his side beat Livingston 4-0 at Ibrox to reach the semi-finals of the Viaplay Cup.

After a bright start to the game, Abdallah Sima fired the hosts ahead just 10 minutes in before a brilliant solo effort from Ridvan Yilmaz doubled the lead in the second half.

They capped the match off with two quickfire goals in the final 10 minutes as Sima found the net from a deflection before Ryan Jack struck in stoppage time.

The win came on the back of a lacklustre 1-0 win against Motherwell in the cinch Premiership at the weekend, and Beale was pleased with how his side played.

“We won a third game in seven days, another clean sheet, we’re in a semi-final so it’s a good night for us,” he said.

“We just stayed with the ball a bit more first half, we were a bit more patient, I thought at times we could speed up a little bit, but in terms of our general possession it was much better than the weekend.

“Abdallah showed the way with his running off the ball, we need to do a bit more of that and by the end of the game we did.”

Beale also provided an injury update on Yilmaz, who was substituted shortly after scoring, and Kemar Roofe, who came off at half-time.

He said: “Ridvan was cramp and Kemar is a groin problem so we’ll know more tomorrow.”

Rangers will now meet with Hearts in the semi-final at Hampden Park in November.

Yilmaz’s stunning solo effort in the second half was arguably the pick of the goals after he made a great run from his own half down the centre of the pitch before firing the ball into the bottom corner.

He said: “(I’m) delighted for him because he’s had a rough first year and a bit to his Rangers career because he’s showed moments and flashes of why the club invested in him and why he was such a big talent in Turkey, in the national team so young, but obviously injuries have held him back.

“Hopefully that’s the start of him showing what he can do more regularly.”

Defeat knocked Livingston out of the competition, with Rangers’ victory kicked off by Sima’s finish in the first half.

The forward appeared to nudge Jamie Brandon off the ball before cutting inside to smash in the top corner and Livi manager David Martindale believes it was a foul.

“Disappointed because I did think it was a foul, I’ll be honest,” he said.

“Never got it but I thought we were spooked the first 15 minutes, I thought we struggled to get to grips with our shape.

“Then the second half, the second part of the first half I thought we managed to build ourselves back into the game, we limited them to very few chances because the first maybe 20/22 minutes something along those lines, there was a lot of chances going behind us quite a bit.

“I thought the second part of the first half we managed to build ourselves into the game, get ourselves in at half-time 1-0, had a chat, had a reshape and I thought we started the second half really well.

“I thought we were doing OK then we gave away a cheap goal, individual errors within that phase of play which was disappointing.”

Manager Nick Montgomery praised the character of his players after Hibernian came from behind to defeat St Mirren 4-2 and land a Viaplay Cup semi-final tie against Aberdeen.

Two late goals from Martin Boyle settled a compelling quarter-final that flowed from end to end.

The Paisley side had taken the lead through Scott Tanser, fell behind to quickfire second-half strikes from Elie Youan and Dylan Vente before Keanu Baccus made it 2-2.

Boyle’s double continued Montgomery’s positive start to life at Easter Road and he now has his first working trip to Hampden to look forward to.

He said: “It’s all about getting through to a semi-final at Hampden so I’m really proud of everyone involved.

“I was at Scotland versus England a couple of weeks ago and thought the atmosphere was amazing – apart from the boos!

“But I never went there as a player or coach, so I’m really looking forward to that.

“The boys thoroughly deserved it, so I’m really proud of their effort.

“I thought it was a really good game of football, a good cup tie under the lights.

“I saw great character from the boys and I thought we deserved to win the game.

“We created more than enough chances to win two games. But fair play to St Mirren, they came as the form team in the league.

“They’ve had a fantastic start to the season but we saw that as an opportunity to put an end to that run. I’m really proud of the boys’ effort because it has been a big couple of weeks.

“I thought that performance epitomised everything in terms of team spirit. And in the second half we played some great stuff.”

St Mirren boss Stephen Robinson felt it was a chance missed for his team, who lost for the first time in 11 games.

He said: “It’s an opportunity missed. We were superb in the first half. We had total control of the game and it should have been 2-0.

“But then it was as if we went ‘that was really good, let’s not do that again’ for the first 15 minutes of the second half. Ultimately, we conceded goals that we don’t concede.

“If you lose four goals you’re going to lose football matches. But I can’t be too hard on the players because they showed good fighting spirit and quality.

“Individual errors and bad decision making have cost us. We didn’t deserve to go through but we won’t feel sorry for ourselves. We will reset and come out fighting again on Saturday.”

Martin Boyle’s late double settled a thriller against St Mirren and sent Hibs into the Viaplay Cup semi-finals following a 4-2 victory.

The visitors had gone in at half-time ahead thanks to Scott Tanser’s fine effort.

Goals from Elie Youan and Dylan Vente then gave Hibs the advantage, only for Keanu Baccus to level things at 2-2.

With 10 minutes left to play, Boyle smashed home what proved to be the winner before adding a late fourth to extend Nick Montgomery’s undefeated start as Hibs manager.

Montgomery made two changes to the side that defeated St Johnstone at the weekend as in came Christian Doidge and Youan, with Adam Le Fondre and Jair Tavares dropping out.

St Mirren also made two alterations after their win over Hearts. There were places for Caolan Boyd-Munce and Mikael Mandron, who replaced Baccus and Connor McMenamin.

It was the visitors who had the first chance but Greg Kiltie’s goalbound header lacked the power to trouble David Marshall.

Former Hibs midfielder Alex Gogic then had a stab goalwards from Boyd-Munce’s deep free-kick that was also saved.

Saints were on top at this point and Ryan Strain’s searching ball picked out Toyosi Olusanya but his lobbed effort over Marshall drifted off target.

Boyle then came within inches of getting onto the end of Joe Newell’s enticing ball from the Hibs right flank.

St Mirren moved in front two minutes before half-time when Strain’s back-post cross was headed backwards by Mandron and Tanser thrashed in a half-volley from the edge of the box.

Hibs had a good chance from a similar position early in the second half but this time Rocky Bushiri dragged his effort well wide.

The home side, though, did draw level after 52 minutes when Boyle’s corner was nodded towards goal by Will Fish for Youan to touch in from close range.

Two minutes later, Hibs were in front. Lewis Miller’s cross picked out Vente in space and the striker was able to turn before firing his shot beyond Zach Hemming.

Saints nearly fell further behind when Boyle was allowed to dribble in on goal before forcing Hemming into a smart stop.

But they worked their way level after 76 minutes. Mark O’Hara picked out Baccus and the Australia international was allowed to run in on goal before finishing well in the far corner.

Hibs, though, went back in front four minutes later. Gogic stretched to try to cut out a cross but could only divert it to Boyle, who scored via the underside of the bar.

The forward missed a sitter to extend Hibs’ lead but made no mistake in time added on to seal the win.

Ross County boss Malky Mackay was delighted that his side found a way to win after they overcame a battling Airdrie side 4-3 in extra time to reach the quarter-finals of the Viaplay Cup.

County looked well on course for victory at 3-1 up, though they would concede twice in the final 10 minutes to send the game into extra time.

The Staggies prevailed in the additional half hour however, Eamonn Brophy heading home in the first half to clinch a dramatic victory.

“Overall, we found a way to win which is the biggest thing of the lot – that’s what you’ve got to do,” Mackay said.

“We knew it was always going to be a tough game, Airdrie have been on a roll, they won promotion, have been excellent in their League Cup group and have started the Championship season well.

“I thought we started like a house on fire and I think overall in the first half we were excellent.”

Mackay admits he was frustrated at the manner in which his team conceded in the second half, though was thrilled at their reaction in extra time.

Jack Baldwin conceded a penalty to restore some hope for Airdrie and Josh O’Connor then seized on some sloppy defending to level the match in the final minute.

Despite demonstrating some defensive frailties, the County boss heaped praise on the resilience of his side.

“I was disappointed that we made two really silly errors. For the penalty the ball is running out of the park and all of a sudden we’ve given them a penalty and a way back into it,” Mackay added.

“Then we’ve got the ball in our own six-yard box, and he doesn’t just kick it into the stand, instead he miskicks it and it gives them the goal.

“Once we got to extra time I was delighted with my team and the way they stood firm.

“It’s a great testament to the group of players, the way they’ve started the season, the way they are fighting for each other and the consistency levels I’ve got compared to what I had last year.”

Airdrie manager Rhys McCabe felt his side were more than a match for their Premiership opponents.

The Diamonds have enjoyed a good start after gaining promotion to the Championship last season and came agonisingly close to causing an upset at the Excelsior Stadium.

“We really gave as good as we got and for large parts, especially in the second half and throughout extra time, I actually thought we absolutely dominated the game,” McCabe said.

“We’ve got to dust ourselves down, analyse where we can get better and what parts of the game were good.

“I’m frustrated for the boys, we’ve had a decent run against so-called bigger opposition, to score three and lose the game at home – I’m gutted for the boys.”

Caolan Boyd-Munce hit a spectacular first goal for St Mirren to send the Buddies past Motherwell and into the Viaplay Cup quarter-finals.

The former Northern Ireland Under-21 international replaced injured captain Mark O’Hara ahead of the previous weekend’s win over Dundee, which sent St Mirren top of the cinch Premiership overnight.

And the 23-year-old again helped alleviate the absence of O’Hara as he proved the difference in a 1-0 victory in Paisley.

Boyd-Munce lit up a scrappy start to the game in the ninth minute. Ryan Strain made some progress as he cut in from the right before the ball broke for the former Middlesbrough and Birmingham midfielder, who fired a first-time effort into the top corner from 20 yards.

Motherwell improved after a poor first half but did not do enough to prevent only their third defeat in six months under manager Stuart Kettlewell.

The visitors, with Davor Zdravkovski making his first start in midfield, were sloppy in possession for spells in the first half and struggled to get men forward to support their strikers as they played into a strong wind.

Keanu Baccus twice threatened for St Mirren after Motherwell lost possession well inside their own half.

The visitors’ first real threat came early in the second half when Theo Bair took in Stephen O’Donnell’s pass with his back to goal and fired a shot which Zach Hemming tipped over at full stretch.

Kettlewell brought on Lennon Miller and Mika Biereth before the midway point in the second half as the game became more open.

Good work from former Motherwell striker Mikael Mandron sent Conor McMenamin clean through but he delayed his shot and Dan Casey got back to block the effort.

Motherwell somehow got a three-on-two break moments later, but Callum Slattery’s pass did not allow Biereth the best angle to shoot and the Dane’s driven ball across the face of goal just evaded Conor Wilkinson.

Kettlewell switched tactics in the 76th minute as forwards Joe Efford and Mark Ferrie replaced wing-back O’Donnell and Wilkinson.

Former Well manager Stephen Robinson responded by putting on ex-Fir Park defender Charles Dunne and St Mirren saw out the final stages without serious threat.

Motherwell defender Shane Blaney had an opportunity to show his prowess from a 25-yard free-kick but the Irishman fired well over and Olutoyosi Olusanya had two great chances to make it 2-0 in stoppage time. The substitute was denied by Liam Kelly and then hit the post on the breakaway.

Livingston booked their place in the quarter-finals of the Viaplay Cup with a comfortable 2-0 victory over Ayr United.

The Scottish Premiership hosts avoided a potential banana skin, with goals in each half from Joel Nouble and Cristian Montano seeing off their Championship visitors.

Livingston, defeated 3-0 by Inverness in last season’s Scottish Cup, looked in no mood to allow lightning to strike twice against second-tier opposition.

It took them just 12 minutes to take the lead, with a second goal of the season for Nouble.

Jason Holt lifted a diagonal pass to the edge of the box, where Kurtis Guthrie won the aerial duel to flick the ball into the path of the overlapping Montano.

The wing-back burst to the by-line and his cutback was hammered into the net by the lurking Nouble.

It was just the start needed to settle any nerves as they dealt with the expectations of facing lower-league opponents.

Ayr, who defeated St Johnstone in an unbeaten group stage campaign, recovered quickly from going behind, however, and pushed forward in search of the equaliser.

Aiden McGeady, making his first start since joining in the summer, found space on the left side of the box in the 18th minute and cut back onto his right-hand side with enough room for a curling shot but Livi goalkeeper Shamal George held on.

The match was getting bogged down in a fierce midfield battle with few clear-cut opportunities at either end.

Stephen Kelly did have a chance with a set-piece in the 29th minute but his curling free-kick was saved by Ayr number one Robbie Mutch.

Kelly was also to the fore at the start of the second period as Livi sought a killer second.

In the 51st minute, Nouble could not quite find the room for a shot in a crowded box and laid the ball off to Kelly but the midfielder skied his effort over the bar from 18 yards.

Moments later, the former Rangers youngster threaded a superb pass through for the breaking Montano but Sean McGinty and George Stanger got back to crowd out the Livi man.

However, there was to be no stopping Montano in the 64th minute as the home side doubled their advantage.

The wing-back powered forward on the left side of the area to latch onto a through ball and when his initial shot was saved by Mutch, it rebound back off him and into the unguarded net.

Montano was denied a second with 14 minutes remaining when his low drive from a Bruce Anderson cutback was turned round the post by Mutch.

When Ayr substitute Fraser Bryden failed to get enough on a Logan Chalmers cross nine minutes from time, allowing George to smother from close range, the visitors’ hopes of staging a late comeback slipped away.

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