HIBERNIAN manager Alan Stubbs had seen the promise of Dominique Malonga on video – now he has seen it in the flesh.
Stubbs expressed his excitement after the big Frenchman bulleted in two headers in the 2-0 League Cup third-round win at Ross County which breathed new life into Hibs’ season.
Stubbs, who saw Malonga’s double make it three goals from three starts, said: “He has finished with a real aplomb. It was clinical, deadly – they bulleted into the net. Those ones are virtually impossible to save. We had seen that in the clips and that’s why we signed him. But, as a striker, you are only as good as your service – and the service tonight was exceptional.”
Rangers won 3-1 at Falkirk and Dean Shiels was on the scoresheet with the second, earning him a vote of confidence from manager Ally McCoist, who declared the Northern Irishman can “absolutely” have a role to play.
The signings of Kris Boyd and Kenny Miller had led to expectations that Shiels would be eased out but McCoist said: “Shielsy is different from the other strikes we have in that he is the only one who can play off the other striker in a 4-4-1-1. The others are more direct. He scores goals too. The tenacity and pace he showed in scoring tonight means he certainly has a future.”
McCoist was circumspect about Rangers prospects in the League Cup and what may lie in store. “I would take a home draw,” he said. “Celtic are everybody’s favourites to win all the cups. We played one of the best teams in the Championship on the own ground tonight and won convincingly, so we will see.”
Falkirk manager Peter Houston was angry at his side being denied what he thought was a penalty two minutes from time, when Rory Loy’s shot came off the hand of Bilel Moshni.
Houston said: “It has smacked up off the boy’s arm and the players are adamant it was a penalty. I was disappointed with some of the refereeing decisions tonight.
“I have no idea why he didn’t give it. It was at a crucial time [at 2-1]. If we had got the penalty we are right back in the game. There is disappointment that we didn’t get the penalty but there is disappointment about the way we played in the second half, because we didn’t get anywhere near the way we can play.”
Holders Aberdeen saw off Championship side Livingston 4-0. Brian Graham’s second-half goal was the winner for St Johnstone against Kilmarnock and Partick beat St Mirren 1-0 after extra time.
The draw for the quarter-finals will take place at Tannadice tonight after the Dundee derby third-tound tie.