Viaplay Cup drama: Premiership pair suffer shock defeats as Spartans stun Dundee United

Stenhousemuir players and fans celebrate after Euan O'Reilly scores against St Johnstone. (Photo by Craig Foy / SNS Group)Stenhousemuir players and fans celebrate after Euan O'Reilly scores against St Johnstone. (Photo by Craig Foy / SNS Group)
Stenhousemuir players and fans celebrate after Euan O'Reilly scores against St Johnstone. (Photo by Craig Foy / SNS Group)
Premiership pair St Mirren and St Johnstone suffered humiliating starts to the new campaign as they crashed to defeats against part-time sides Montrose and Stenhousemuir in a dramatic opening round of Viaplay Cup group-stage fixtures.

Dundee United, who were relegated from the top flight last term, suffered a similarly ignominious afternoon as they were jeered off by a large travelling support after losing away to freshly-promoted League Two side Spartans.

There were no such concerns, however, for Premiership quartet Kilmarnock, Motherwell, Livingston and Ross County, who all enjoyed comfortable victories over their respective lower-league opponents.

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In terms of league ranking, Stenhousemuir of League Two pulled off the biggest upset of the day as Euan O’Reilly scored the only goal of the game at Ochilview early in the second half to ensure a nightmare start for 2021 cup winners St Johnstone.

St Mirren, who won the competition in 2013, endured a wretched trip to Links Park as Rory McAllister’s goal just before the hour was enough to earn League One Montrose a 1-0 victory.

In terms of club stature, perhaps the biggest shock came at Ainslie Park where Edinburgh side Spartans, who were promoted from the Lowland League at the end of last season, heaped more misery on Dundee United as Blair Henderson’s 11th-minute goal proved enough to secure a heroic 1-0 win.

United striker Tony Watt saw a penalty saved by home goalkeeper Blair Carswell midway through the second half.

The struggles of those three sides will have added to the satisfaction of the top-flight teams who avoided such embarrassment.

Kilmarnock eased to a 3-0 win at home to League One new boys Annan. Derek McInnes’ side were in full control through goals from Fraser Murray, Daniel Armstrong and Innes Cameron before they had Jack Sanders sent off in the second half.

Livingston triumphed by the same scoreline away to Highland League side Brechin, with Joel Nouble netting early on before second-half goals from Sean Kelly and Cristian Montano.

Ross County striker Simon Murray scored a hat-trick in a resounding 5-1 victory away to League Two side Stranraer. The Staggies’ opener came via a Craig Ross own goal, while Jack Baldwin completed the scoring.

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Sixteen-year-old Lennon Miller scored his first goal for Motherwell to set Stuart Kettlewell’s side on their way to a 2-0 victory over Elgin at Borough Briggs, with Jonathan Obika adding the second.

Elsewhere, Championship pair Partick Thistle and Ayr United both eked out penalty shootout victories away to lower-league hosts Peterhead and Stirling Albion after being held to 1-1 draws. Thistle’s shoot-out finished 10-9 after 12 penalties apiece, with goalkeepers Jamie Sneddon and Stuart McKenzie both missing.



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