League Cup: Third Round upsets

Jason Scotland returned to haunt old club Dundee United as St Johnstone ran out 3-0 winners in September 2006. Picture: SNS
Jason Scotland returned to haunt old club Dundee United as St Johnstone ran out 3-0 winners in September 2006. Picture: SNS
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THE third round of the Scottish Communities League Cup kicks off tonight, with a number of Scottish Premiership clubs facing lower league opposition.

Tonight, Stranraer travel to the capital to take on Hibernian and Celtic entertain Morton while tomorrow sees Hearts take on Queen of the South and Aberdeen face Falkirk. The league cup has, in the past, thrown up a number of upsets. Here, terracepodcast.net take a look back at seven memorable third round cup upsets from the past ten years.

19 Sep, 2006: St Johnstone 3 - 0 Dundee United

Craig Brewster’s men were not only beaten by their First Division rivals, they were humiliated in a 3-0 defeat that included former United forward Jason Scotland scoring against his old club. The Trinidad and Tobago striker opened the scoring five minutes before half-time and just over a year after a potential new contract with United was forgotten following the failure to secure a work permit. Steven Milne and Simon Mensing also got on the scoresheet for the hosts who would go within a minute of winning promotion to the Premier League at the end of that season. James Grady’s infamous goal for Gretna denied them a place.

Sep 25, 2007: Hamilton 2 - 0 Kilmarnock

This match heralded the arrival of Hamilton and two future international stars who would both get on the score-sheet. 16-year old James McCarthy opened the scoring after the ball kindly broke to him following a David Winters cross. The First Division leaders then doubled their advantage when James McArthur kept his head amid unsuccessful appears for a penalty to drive the ball home. The night only got worse for Jim Jefferies and his SPL side when David Fernandez was sent off for two late bookings.

Sep 22, 2009: Dundee 3 - 2 Aberdeen (aet)

In May 2009, Jimmy Calderwood was given the boot at Pittodrie despite leading the club back into Europe at the end of the campaign. One of the supposed reasons for the sacking was the side’s inability to progress in the cup competitions; often being knocked out by lower league opposition. Well it didn’t get any better under new manager Mark McGhee when Aberdeen travelled to Dens Park to take on the First Division leaders. Eddie Malone started the scoring before Craig Forsyth doubled the lead for Jocky Scott’s side. Michael Paton, on for Darren Mackie, scored twice to take the game to extra-time where a blunder by Jamie Langfield allowed Leigh Griffiths to grab the winner.

Sep 21, 2010: Falkirk 4 - 3 Hearts

As far as upsets go, few have matched the drama of this encounter at the Falkirk Stadium. The hosts took an early lead through Mark Stewart shortly before Craig Thomson saw red for the visitors after being adjudged to have kicked out at Carl Finnegan. The striker recovered from the incident to give Falkirk a commanding 2-0 half-time lead against the ten men. Hearts then came roaring back in the second half. Kevin Kyle pulled one back from the spot before Suso Santana fired in an equaliser. Kyle then connected once again to put Hearts in front and sparked wild celebrations in the away end. It wouldn’t last long. Ryan Flynn took advantage of some dreadful Hearts defending to equalise before Stewart got his second of the night to win the match in injury time.

Sep 20/21, 2011: Falkirk 3 - 2 Rangers | East Fife* 3 - 3 Aberdeen | Ayr United* 1 - 1 Hearts

*Ayr United and East Fife won on penalties

A strange midweek for Scottish football saw three SPL teams in two nights crash out of the League Cup Third Round to lower league opposition. First to fall were Aberdeen who had to come from behind to force extra time in their 3-3 draw with Second Division East Fife. After no more goals were scored the game went to penalties where Mark Ridgers was the hero, saving three spot-kicks to allow John Robertson’s side to advance.

24 hours later Hearts succumbed to a similar fate, going out at Somerset Park after failing to hold onto a 1-0 lead and seeing Rudi Skacel and Danny Grainger miss their penalties.

The real drama of the night, however, was at the Falkirk Stadium where Rangers trailed 2-0 to Farid El Alagui double. The holders then seemingly rescued the situation with goals from Dorin Goian and Nikica Jelavic inside the final ten minutes. They didn’t even make it to extra time. Mark Millar’s free-kick was poorly judged by Neil Alexander and the ball cannoned off the keeper into the back of the net for a major upset against the SPL league leaders.

• Article courtesy of terracepodcast.net, ‘an alternative look at the country’s beautiful game’ covering all four Scottish divisions. You can also follow @terracepodcast on Twitter.