Georgios Samaras helped himself to a hat-trick as Celtic thumped Inverness 6-0 in their Co-operative Insurance Cup third-round tie at Parkhead.
The Greece striker showed why manager Neil Lennon is looking to offer him a new contract with an impressive night's work albeit against a poor Caley side. He notched either side of Gary Hooper's first competitive goal for the Hoops since signing from Scunthorpe in the summer to ensure the tie was all over by the interval.
Samaras made sure of the match ball in the 57th minute when he showed commendable fighting spirit in the box before driving past Jonny Tuffey.As the Highlanders crumbled further, Anthony Stokes scored from the spot in the 73rd minute, after he had been brought down by the Caley goalkeeper, before he drove in a wonderful 25-yard drive to complete the thrashing.
Aberdeen avoided another embarrassing cup exit after coming from behind to beat Raith Rovers 3-2.
Paul Hartley scored his fifth penalty of the season to give the hosts the lead but Jamie Mole equalised after 24 minutes before Gregory Tade added a second seven minutes before the break.
However, a second-half double from in-form striker Scott Vernon gave the Dons a hard-fought win to avenge their humiliating fifth round replay defeat to the Irn Bru First Division side in the Active Nations Cup in February.
Mixu Paatelainen heaped more misery on his former club Hibernian as Kilmarnock knocked them out the with the help of Jamie Hamill's double.
Two goals in three second-half minutes from Hamill and David Silva sent Paatelainen's Ayrshire side into the quarter-finals and nullified controversy over Willie Collum's decision to reverse a first-half penalty award for the hosts.
Jonathan Grounds gave Hibernian an early lead but Kilmarnock soon levelled when Hamill netted on the rebound and the right-back later converted a penalty to continue a miserable run for the visitors, who have now won just four times in 26 matches.
Dundee United needed extra-time to overcome determined Ross County 2-1 at Victoria Park.
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