Gary Hooper grabbed four goals against Raith Rovers as Celtic eased into the quarter-finals of the Scottish Communities League Cup.

Dylan McGeoch cut the ball back from the by-line and Hooper fired Celtic ahead after 12 minutes.

Allan Walker's deflected drive off Thomas Rogne put the First Division side level before the half hour.

Hooper fired his second from a James Forrest cross nine minutes later and added two more after the break.

Celtic manager Neil Lennon had taken the chance to give midfielders Beram Kayal and Joe Ledley some game time following their lengthy absences through injury and give recent signing Efe Ambrose his first start in midfield amid six changes to his side.

But, with the top tier of Celtic Park closed, most of the noise in the low-key early stages came from the travelling supporters.

They were encouraged by their side's efforts to build from the back, but that was to be their undoing when defender Jason Thomson's pass from wide on the right touchline was cut out by Forrest.

The winger sped forward and switched the ball to McGeouch whose low driven cross was steered in almost casually from close range by Hooper.

Rovers goalkeeper David McGurn saved from McGeouch and Hooper, while Rogne smashed an effort off the post as Celtic threatened to run riot.

Somewhat out of the blue, Rovers were level when Walker gathered 20 yards from goal and his drive took a nick off defender Rogne before spinning over goalkeeper Lukas Zaluska and in off the post.

Kayal scooped a Charlie Mulgrew corner over the bar from a few yards out, but the groans in the home support turned to relieved cheers when Forrest's cross into the middle was confidently converted by the unmarked Hooper.

The Kirkcaldy side should have levelled for the second time in the 50th minute when Walker set up Brian Graham with a fine cross, but the big striker did not get enough on his header from eight yards and the ball went wide.

That was the last hope Rovers had of pulling off a shock as Hooper grabbed his hat-trick in the 58th minute when he finished off a fine move involving McGeouch and Adam Matthews by drilling an angled shot past McGurn.

On the hour mark, the Englishman tapped in from almost on the line after Kayal's shot lacked the power to see him on the scoresheet.

A Forrest shot struck the post and McGurn turned a powerful Matthews drive over the bar, but Celtic had already done enough for a comfortable win.

Celtic manager Neil Lennon : "Very pleased. Great performance going forward at times.

"Gary Hooper is a phenomenal goalscorer - he's a phenomenal player - and I'm delighted for him.

"He was the stand-out player for us with four great finishes and his general play as well.

"Ambrose's debut was as good a debut as you will see - composed, good pace to his game, played very well.

"He can play in a number of positions, but tonight in midfield we thought it was a good time to bed him in and it looked like he'd played here for years.

"Dylan started the game really well and James, once he's in full flow, is as good as any winger in Britain. Forrest, I think, is an exceptional talent and we saw that again.

"We've always wanted to play them together and it's given us food for thought."

Raith Rovers manager Grant Murray : "It was always going to be a difficult task and, when you go behind early, it does make it an uphill battle.

"But, credit to the guys, they got themselves back in the game and probably had a chance after that.

"But, when Celtic get the second and third, it does make it difficult.

"But my players can come away from here heads held high. They gave it everything they had."

Lineup, Bookings (1) & Substitutions (6)

Celtic

  • 24 Zaluska
  • 02 Matthews
  • 04 Ambrose
  • 06 Wilson
  • 21 Mulgrew
  • 25 Rogne
  • 33 Kayal (Ledley - 61' )
  • 46 McGeouch
  • 49 Forrest (Commons - 82' )
  • 32 Watt (McCourt - 71' )
  • 88 Hooper

Substitutes

  • 01 Forster
  • 15 Commons
  • 16 Ledley
  • 20 McCourt
  • 67 Wanyama

Raith Rovers

  • 01 McGurn
  • 02 Thomson
  • 03 Malowne (Ellis - 89' )
  • 04 Mensing
  • 05 Hill
  • 06 Anderson
  • 07 Anderson Booked (Smith - 68' )
  • 08 Walker
  • 11 Hamill
  • 09 Graham
  • 10 Spence (Callachan - 68' )

Substitutes

  • 17 Laidlaw
  • 14 Ellis
  • 16 Donaldson
  • 12 Smith
  • 15 Callachan
Ref: Muir
Att: 14,737

Match Stats

Shots

19 4

On target

10 1

Corners

7 2

Fouls

3 12

Live Text Commentary

90:00 +2:23 Full time

Full Time The match has reached full-time.

90:00 +1:59

Jason Thomson gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Kris Commons.

90:00 +0:44

Effort from 20 yards by Dylan McGeouch. Save by David McGurn.

89:51

The referee blows for offside. David McGurn restarts play with the free kick.

88:46

Direct free kick taken by Lukasz Zaluska.

88:46 Substitution

Substitution Edward Malowne goes off and Laurence Ellis comes on.

88:46

The assistant referee flags for offside against Brian Graham.

83:01

Kris Commons fouled by David Smith, the ref awards a free kick. Gary Hooper restarts play with the free kick.

81:42 Substitution

Substitution Kris Commons joins the action as a substitute, replacing James Forrest.

81:09

Unfair challenge on Brian Graham by Thomas Rogne results in a free kick. Direct free kick taken by Joe Hamill.

79:57

Adam Matthews takes a shot. Save made by David McGurn. Corner taken by James Forrest, Thomas Rogne has a headed effort from close range and clears the bar.

75:42

Short corner taken by James Forrest from the right by-line.

74:51

Shot by Patrick McCourt. Douglas Hill gets a block in.

72:13

James Forrest has an effort at goal from outside the box striking the post.

70:39 Substitution

Substitution Patrick McCourt joins the action as a substitute, replacing Tony Watt.

70:39

Shot by Brian Graham from just outside the area goes over the net.

68:14

Allan Walker takes the inswinging corner, clearance made by Joe Ledley.

67:08 Substitution

Substitution Greig Spence leaves the field to be replaced by Ross Callachan.

67:08 Substitution

Substitution Grant Anderson leaves the field to be replaced by David Smith.

66:40

Dylan McGeouch is penalised for handball and concedes a free kick. Direct free kick taken by Joe Hamill.

63:25

Adam Matthews crosses the ball, David McGurn makes a save.

60:25 Substitution

Substitution Joe Ledley replaces Beram Kayal.

59:36

Assist on the goal came from Beram Kayal.

59:36 Goal scored

Goal! - Gary Hooper - Celtic 4 - 1 Raith Goal scored by Gary Hooper from inside the six-yard box low into the middle of the goal. Celtic 4-1 Raith.

57:38

Adam Matthews provided the assist for the goal.

57:38 Goal scored

Goal! - Gary Hooper - Celtic 3 - 1 Raith A goal is scored by Gary Hooper from inside the penalty area to the bottom left corner of the goal. Celtic 3-1 Raith.

54:58

Brian Graham challenges Thomas Rogne unfairly and gives away a free kick. Beram Kayal takes the free kick.

52:24

Tony Watt has a drilled shot. David McGurn makes a save.

51:47

Edward Malowne challenges Gary Hooper unfairly and gives away a free kick. Beram Kayal takes the free kick.

49:34

Headed effort from deep inside the area by Brian Graham misses to the right of the goal.

48:34

Brian Graham fouled by Kelvin Wilson, the ref awards a free kick. Allan Walker takes the free kick.

46:41

Efe Ambrose has an effort at goal from just outside the box which goes wide of the left-hand post.

45:01

The second half kicks off.

45:00 +0:26 Half time

Half Time The whistle is blown to end the first half.

44:51

Effort on goal by Charlie Mulgrew from outside the penalty box goes harmlessly over the bar.

43:57

James Forrest has an effort at goal from outside the box which goes wide right of the goal.

42:42

Unfair challenge on James Forrest by Grant Anderson results in a free kick. Free kick taken by Dylan McGeouch.

40:02

Efe Ambrose restarts play with the free kick.

40:02 Booking

Booking Grant Anderson goes into the referee's book for unsporting behaviour.

39:58

Grant Anderson gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Gary Hooper.

38:33

Grant Anderson has an effort at goal from outside the penalty box which goes wide right of the target.

37:12

Charlie Mulgrew takes the outswinging corner, save by David McGurn.

36:05

Assist on the goal came from James Forrest.

36:05 Goal scored

Goal! - Gary Hooper - Celtic 2 - 1 Raith Gary Hooper finds the net with a goal from inside the six-yard box to the bottom right corner of the goal. Celtic 2-1 Raith.

35:27

Foul by Greig Spence on Lukasz Zaluska, free kick awarded. Lukasz Zaluska restarts play with the free kick.

34:27

Corner taken right-footed by Allan Walker from the right by-line, Beram Kayal manages to make a clearance.

31:39

Corner taken left-footed by Charlie Mulgrew from the right by-line, Beram Kayal produces a left-footed shot from close range which goes wide of the left-hand post.

31:14

Centre by Dylan McGeouch, Grant Anderson manages to make a clearance.

30:49

Short corner taken by Dylan McGeouch.

29:55

Dylan McGeouch gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Edward Malowne. Douglas Hill takes the direct free kick.

27:08

Brian Graham provided the assist for the goal.

27:08 Goal scored

Goal! - Allan Walker - Celtic 1 - 1 Raith Allan Walker fires in a goal from just outside the penalty box to the bottom left corner of the goal. Celtic 1-1 Raith.

25:52

Shot from just outside the box by Tony Watt goes over the crossbar.

24:53

Stuart Anderson gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Beram Kayal. Kelvin Wilson takes the free kick.

24:07

Charlie Mulgrew crosses the ball.

23:16

Edward Malowne gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Adam Matthews. Free kick taken by Charlie Mulgrew.

21:41

The assistant referee flags for offside against Brian Graham. Thomas Rogne restarts play with the free kick.

20:03

James Forrest fouled by Jason Thomson, the ref awards a free kick. Free kick taken by Charlie Mulgrew.

19:29

Effort on goal by Beram Kayal from just inside the penalty box goes harmlessly over the target.

18:04

Corner taken right-footed by Dylan McGeouch, Stuart Anderson manages to make a clearance.

17:26

The ball is swung over by Jason Thomson, Thomas Rogne manages to make a clearance.

15:42

Unfair challenge on Charlie Mulgrew by Simon Mensing results in a free kick. Charlie Mulgrew takes the direct free kick.

14:30

Gary Hooper takes a shot. Save by David McGurn.

13:54

Simon Mensing gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Beram Kayal. Dylan McGeouch takes the direct free kick.

13:09

Dylan McGeouch produces a drilled right-footed shot from 18 yards. Save made by David McGurn. Outswinging corner taken from the left by-line by Charlie Mulgrew.

11:29

Assist by Dylan McGeouch.

11:29 Goal scored

Goal! - Gary Hooper - Celtic 1 - 0 Raith Gary Hooper fires in a goal from close range low into the middle of the goal. Celtic 1-0 Raith.

1:28

Shot by Beram Kayal from outside the box goes high over the target.

0:00

The ref blows the whistle to start the match.

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