Scottish football: St Mirren will meet Hearts in the Scottish League Cup final after stunning league leaders Celtic 3-2 in today’s semi-final at Hampden.
Buddies debutant Esmael Goncalves fired the underdogs ahead in the eighth minute, but when Gary Hooper equalised for Neil Lennon’s men on the stroke of half-time it seemed as though the tournament favourites would roar out after the interval and take control of the tie.
But Celtic blew a great opportunity to go in front early in the second period when Charlie Mulgrew had a penalty saved by Craig Samson and things got worse for Mulgrew just after the hour as he conceded a penalty himself.
Paul McGowan netted from 12 yards to put St Mirren back in front and the Paisley side, who had failed to score against the Hoops in their eight previous meetings, made it three in the 69th minute courtesy of Steven Thompson’s stylish volley.
Mulgrew did get on the scoresheet in the final minute but it was scant consolation as his side crashed out.
St Mirren will return to Hampden for the final on March 17, where they will face a Hearts side that came from behind to beat Inverness CT on 5-4 penalities at Easter Road.
Following a goalless first-half, the Tynecastle side fell behind to Andrew Shinne’s opener, only for Liverpool loanee Michael Ngoo to mark his Hearts debut by levelling after the hour.
The Jambos then lost Scott Robinson as he saw red for a two-footed lunge on Owain Tudur Jones, but after battling through extra time they held their nerve during the shoot-out which was decided when on-loan Arsenal midfielder Philip Roberts blazed his spotkick over the bar.
Hearts manager John McGlynn declared himself proud of his youthful team after they lifted the “doom and gloom” around the club by reaching the final.
“It’s massive,” McGlynn said.
“It’s a great boost for the fans because there has been a lot of doom and gloom this season.
“I’m very proud of the performance and the fight of the players today.”
In the Scottish Premier League today Hibernian escaped with a point from Pittodrie as Aberdeen’s Niall McGinn saw an early penalty saved by Ben Williams during their 0-0 draw while bottom side Dundee drew 0-0 with Kilmarnock.
Finally Ross County boss Derek Adams was pleased with his side’s efforts as Richard Brittan struck to cancel out Gary Mackay-Steven’s opener and secure a point at Dundee United yesterday.
Adams said: “It was nothing more than we deserved. It’s always a good point coming to a place like Tannadice.”
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