Celtic 5-0 St Johnstone: Celtic reach Scottish Cup quarter-finals
By Sky Sports News
Last Updated: 10/02/19 11:48pm
Scott Sinclair's second hat-trick of the season was the catalyst as Celtic thrashed St Johnstone 5-0 to claim a place in the Scottish Cup quarter-finals.
The Hoops forward squeezed in the opener in the third minute before Scott Brown's 30-yard drive made it two six minutes later.
Returning winger James Forrest added a third in the 52nd minute, with Sinclair then scoring twice more in a one-sided affair to seal the cup holders' place in Monday night's draw.
Brendan Rodgers' team have now won seven successive matches since the turn of the year, scoring 21 goals in the process without conceding.
The visitors' chances of pulling off a cup shock at Celtic Park ended almost before they had begun as they fell behind in the early stages.
Oliver Burke burst all too easily through the Perth defence but opted to square to Sinclair, with the forward vindicating the decision by finishing well from an acute angle.
What remaining belief Saints had evaporated when Brown picked up a clearance and arrowed a drive high past the flailing Zander Clark for his first goal in two years.
St Johnstone tried to respond and goalkeeper Scott Bain had to throw himself to his right to push away a Chris Kane drive.
In the main, Celtic were on top and after the break they countered through Jonny Hayes - in for the injured Emilio Izaguirre - who laid off for Forrest to slot in from 12 yards.
Two minutes later, after Forrest had set up Burke, Sinclair tapped in from close range before completing his treble in the final minute from 10 yards to round off a comprehensive victory.
Joining Celtic in the last eight are Hearts, who overcame non-league opposition in the form of Auchinleck Talbot with a 4-0 success at Tynecastle Park.
Backed by a travelling support of almost 2,000 fans, the junior side were keen to follow up their surprise win over Championship team Ayr United in the last round.
But Auchinleck's chances of a repeat withered in the early stages as Christophe Berra scored just ten minutes in.
Demetri Mitchell, on loan from Manchester United, added a second and when Steven MacLean rolled in a close-range third, the tie was as good as done seven minutes before the break.
Aidan Keena's first goal for Hearts - the result of a mazy dribble - gave Craig Levein's team extra comfort in the closing stages before Stephen Wilson had a fifth disallowed for offside.
Aberdeen were also sizeable winners as they defeated second-tier opponents Queen of the South - but it took until the second half for them to get their goals in a 4-1 victory.
Niall McGinn finally put them ahead three minutes after the break, only for Stephen Dobbie to level three minutes later with his 38th goal of the season.
Andrew Considine restored the home team's advantage, with Sam Cosgrove adding a quickfire double - the second goal a penalty - to completing the scoring.