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St Mirren 0-2 Celtic: Holders progress into Scottish Cup quarters

Holders Celtic safely negotiated a tricky tie against St Mirren to progress to a Scottish Cup quarter-final at home to Livingston.

On his return to the starting line-up, Kyogo Furuhashi fired Celtic into a first-half lead with a classy goal, despite the hosts starting the stronger in Paisley.

Alex Gogic twice came breathtakingly close to hauling St Mirren level, but their profligacy was punished as Daizen Maeda stabbed in a second to ensure Celtic's spot in the last eight.

Brendan Rodgers' flawless record in the Scottish Cup continues, while St Mirren's long wait for a fourth success in this competition will go on another season.

Home boss Stephen Robinson stressed the importance of a quick start, given his side were caught cold in the league meeting at the beginning of January.

The hosts dominated early doors, but there was a lingering concern that they had nothing to show for it. Then, in a flash, Kyogo dealt the suspected sucker punch, firing the ball through Charles Dunne's legs and past unsighted goalkeeper Zach Hemming.

While the Japan international is the main goal threat for Celtic, Gogic is less perceived as the St Mirren one. But it was the Cyprus midfielder who came closest to clawing his side back into the contest.

First, Gogic smashed a shot onto the crossbar after a sensational spin, then he tried an audacious overhead kick. He was inches away from spectacularly drawing his side level, but Joe Hart's save matched the excellence.

For all the energy, enthusiasm and intensity St Mirren displayed in the first half, they appeared sapped of it all in a tired start to the second. Maeda was the executor with his strong strike finally finding the net after the onrushing Matt O'Riley left the woodwork shaking with his shot.

If their Scottish Cup journey was to be prolonged, Robinson's side needed a response, and Greg Kiltie should have delivered it. A teasing ball was flashed right in front of him, but the winger failed to throw himself at it and the glorious chance went begging.

Player of the match - Stephen Welsh (Celtic)

What they said

St Mirren manager Stephen Robinson: "We had chances, and we didn't take them. We hit the crossbar, the ball doesn't break for us, they hit the crossbar and it breaks for them - it's fine margins.

"We should have defended both goals better, they didn't cut us open or create clear-cut chances. Celtic have to be given credit for the way they defended. We tested them a lot.

"They deserved to win the game because they defended better in one box and they were clinical in the other."

Celtic manager Brendan Rodgers: "It was tricky conditions, but I thought we dealt with it well. St Mirren made a good start, we had to be strong, but then we got the goal and we were resolute.

"Second half we managed the game really well, we could have won more convincingly but the second goal calms everything. The players were fantastic and the only thing I would say was we could have scored more goals."

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