A hat-trick by Paul Heffernan helped Kilmarnock romp into the last eight of the Scottish Communities League Cup against 10-man Queen of the South.

Gary Harkins scored in 90 seconds with a deflected shot over Lee Robinson.

Queens' Kevin Smith was sent off for using an elbow on Leon Panikvar and thereafter Heffernan ran riot.

The Irishman headed a second just before half-time, volleyed his second and lobbed Robinson for his third before Ben Hutchinson added the fifth.

The Scottish Premier League side took the lead before Queens could settle.

Midfielder Gary Harkins fired a left-foot shot from 16 yards that took a deflection off a Queens defender and looped over the head of Robinson and into the top corner of the net.

Highlights - Tuesday's Scottish League Cup roundup

It was Harkins' first goal for the Rugby Park side since joining from Dundee in the summer.

Robinson saved from Harkins five minutes later but when the ball fell to Heffernan he smacked his half volley high over the bar.

As if a goal of a deficit was not enough, Queens' task was made more difficult when referee Stevie O'Reilly sent off former Notts County striker Smith in 33 minutes for directing an elbow at Panikvar.

And Killie made the extra man count when, four minutes before half-time, Dean Shiels whipped in an in-swinging left-footed cross and Heffernan dived to head his sixth goal of the season.

For most of the second half Gus McPherson's men were forced to merely contain the attacking instincts of the home side.

But Queens went further behind with just over half an hour remaining when Heffernan volleyed the ball into the net from just outside the six-yard box.

The Irish striker did not have long to wait for his hat-trick, with Shiels the provider once more.

Heffernan controlled the pass, drew the keeper and dinked the ball over him and into the net to continue the rout.

With 16 minutes to go, substitute Ben Hutchinson rounded off the scoring, firing high into the net from inside the box seven minutes after replacing Liam Kelly.

Kilmarnock manager Kenny Shiels: "It's important to the people of Kilmarnock that we get a cup run.

"The ambition of this club has to be to get a good run in cup competitions as well as consolidating in the league. It is part of my remit as manager to make sure we achieve that.

"We had concerns that this was going to be a tricky game and we worked very hard in our preparations to make sure we didn't treat them with any disrespect."

Queen of the South manager Gus MacPherson (on Kevin Smith's red card): "No question, there was contact. But when you go down in that manner then you start to ask questions.

"It's something you just don't see from Scottish boys, but you see it week-in week-out from the foreign boys."

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