Hearts romped to a 3-0 win over St Johnstone to book their place in the quarter-finals of the William Hill Scottish Cup.
A brace from Kyle Lafferty either side of Demetri Mitchell’s first goal for the club gave the Jambos a convincing win over the Perth Saints at Tynecastle.
Craig Levein made four changes to the side that beat St Johnstone in the Premiership last week. Michael Smith, Aaron Hughes, Ross Callachan and Anthony McDonald were handed starting berths with Connor Randall, Danny Amankwaa and David Milinkovic moving to the bench while Steven Naismith missed out through injury.
It was the Jambos who took the lead just seven minutes in. A St Johnstone throw to Murray Davidson was intercepted by Arnaud Djoum, who nodded into the path of Lafferty and the Ulsterman carried the ball into the box before firing low back across Alan Mannus and into the bottom corner of the net.
The visitors weren’t far away from an equaliser after 15 minutes. Jaoquim Adao brought down Davidson 20-yards out, and David Wotherspoon stepped up to curl his set piece inches wide of Jon McLaughlin’s right-hand post.
Saints had a half chance just before the half hour mark when Adao’s headed clearance was picked up at the edge of the box by Tanser, who burst forward before swinging the ball across the face of goal but there were no takers at the other end.
There was one more chance before the half was out when Wotherspoon got down the left to cross for Chris Kane but his first-time effort inside the box was weak and easily stopped by McLaughlin.
Callachan went close to doubling Hearts’ lead three minutes into the restart. Djoum’s ball forward was knocked down by Lafferty into Callachan’s path, and he let it run across him before hooking an effort goalward only to see his shot fly wide of the target.
A stunning Mitchell strike gave Hearts the second after 53 minutes. McDonald stole possession deep inside his own half and fed Adao who sent Djoum bounding down the right to middle for the on-loan Manchester United man, who from 20-yards out hit a pinpoint left-footed shot over Mannus and into the top corner.
Four minutes later it was 3-0. Lafferty drove forward and cut inside before moving the ball out to Smith and carrying on his run into the six-yard box, and Smith simply rolled the ball into his path for him to knock home his second and Hearts’ third.
Substitute Connor Randall nearly made it a rout in the 78th minute. Smith’s cross was headed cleared by Shaughnessy but only into the path of Randall, whose shot was blocked on the line and then cleared by Tanser.
All eyes will now be on Sunday’s draw to see who Hearts are paired with in the quarter-finals of the William Hill Scottish Cup.
Hearts: McLaughlin, Smith, Souttar, Berra, Hughes, Mitchell (Randall, 77'), Adao (Buaben, 60'), Djoum, Callachan, McDonald, Lafferty (Henderson, 83'). Subs: Hamilton, Brandon, Amankwaa, Milinkovic.
St Johnstone: Mannus, Tanser, Shaughnessy, Anderson, Millar (Johnstone, 26'), Davidson, Wotherspoon, Kerr, Foster, Kane, Willock (Alston, 60'). Subs: Clark, MacLean, Comrie, McClean, Watson.
Referee: Kevin Clancy