Hearts players stand dejected at the halfway line as the penalty shootout slips away from them. Picture: SNS.

Fans vent their fury in Methil but there’s no panic at Hearts

In his time as Scotland manager Jock Stein once said the serious business of qualifying from group stages of any competition required the donning of “working clothes” – the more extravagant stuff could come later. It’s a sentiment Hearts seem to have embraced rather too intently for many of their supporters’ comfort when it comes to the Betfred Cup.

Falkirk manager Ray McKinnon looks dejected at full-time. Pic: SNS/Bruce White

Falkirk 3 - 2 Ross County: Bairns drop to League One despite battling win

They may not be the mighty but it’s still one heck of a fall for Falkirk who were condemned to play in the third tier of Scottish football for the first time in nearly 40 years despite this spirited victory over champions Ross County. Going into this game they knew that salvation wasn’t within their hands, and fate served up the final blow as Alloa, the only club they could realistically overtake to avoid automatic relegation, got the point they needed to slam the door in their faces.

Dunfermline's Tom Beadling challenges Stephen Dobbie. Photograph: Ross MacDonald/SNS Group

Dunfermline 1-0 Queen of the South: Pars resurgence continues

There are remarkable turnarounds and then there is Dunfermline’s transformation from hovering on the brink of a relegation struggle to promotion play-off contenders in the space of three weeks. Four wins – and four clean sheets – on the trot and suddenly it’s all come good for Stevie Crawford’s side. It’s a case study in fine margins as well as the fierce competitiveness of the Championship from top to bottom.

Ayr manager Ian McCall. Pic: Michael Gillen

Dunfermline Athletic 0 - 0 Ayr United: Visitors surrender top spot

Like the festive season itself, this has turned into a time of great expectations for Ayr United. This game was a gentle reminder, however, that not everything that is wished for might turn up – Ian McCall’s well drilled, free scoring side certainly didn’t show up here yesterday and after a poor 90-minute stalemate they meekly surrendered pole position in the Championship promotion race.

Ross County's Stelios Demetriou competes with Andy Geggan. Pic: SNS/Rob Casey

Ayr 3 - 3 Ross County: County peg back leaders in thriller

This was just about football heaven and hell. A glorious game played for long spells in utterly atrocious conditions. If it had been a goalless stalemate everyone might well have left Somerset Park with early stage hypothermia – instead we got total unpredictability, twists and turns, and a feast of goals to warm the senses.

Hamilton's Dougie Imrie celebrates after scoring the opening goal. Pic: SNS/Craig Williamson

St Mirren 1 - 3 Hamilton: Accies go five clear of hosts

This was Hamilton doing what Hamilton do best. Just when you think they are there for the taking after a couple of poor results, they turn around and bite. St Mirren were entitled to feel a sense of confidence going into this one on the back of their fine win over Hearts the previous week, but we’ve seen Accies do this sort of thing so many times that everyone should have known what was coming.

St Mirren
Edinburgh City's Blair Henderson. Pic: SNS

Edinburgh City 2 - 2 Alloa Athletic (Edinburgh win 4-3 on pens)

Edinburgh City’s remarkable season continues to notch up records and break new ground. Currently leading the way in League 2 just 12 months on from looking like they might be headed back to the Lowland League, they advanced to the semi-finals of a national cup competition for the first time in their history following a gutsy comeback and penalty shoot-out win over an Alloa Athletic side sitting two divisions above them.

Edinburgh City
Zak Rudden scores the game's only goal. Pic: Michael Gillen

Dunfermline 0 - 1 Falkirk: Zak Rudden earns crucial win for Bairns

There’s nothing like a win over your local rivals to make the world seem like a completely different place. It’s fair to say that Falkirk fans have endured week upon week of misery since the beginning of the campaign as their side have sunk to the Championship basement. But after a second-half strike from Zak Rudden was enough to settle this cross-Forth derby in their favour you could be forgiven for thinking the Bairns had won the title rather than just three valuable points.

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