Scott Vernon's hat-trick helped Aberdeen thump Falkirk and enter Thursday's Scottish League Cup quarter-final draw.

Joe Shaughnessy dispatched a low shot to begin the scoring before Cammy Smith benefited from Shaughnessy's knock-down to fire the Dons' second.

Substitute Vernon added Aberdeen's third and fourth from close range.

And the Englishman capped a great night for Aberdeen and a miserable one for Falkirk by netting a penalty.

It is now four goals in two games for Vernon as he followed up his winner against Inverness on Saturday with a lethal display.

Interview - Aberdeen manager Derek McInnes

Aberdeen's hopes of repeating their League Cup winning success of 1995 will now heighten.

Falkirk have produced their fair share of cup shocks over the years but on this occasion their visitors were in firm control to ensure straightforward progress.

Much credit is rightly given to Gary Holt's Bairns, who fielded a starting XI with an average age of 21 at the Falkirk Stadium.

But it was two of Aberdeen's fledglings who made the game safe by half-time.

Michael Hector intelligently held off a Falkirk defender to allow 21-year-old Shaughnessy the room to fire across home goalkeeper Michael McGovern after Clark Robertson's long-throw.

It was a second Aberdeen goal for the Republic of Ireland Under-21 international who seems to do well in cup competitions - his first Dons goal came in the Scottish Cup last season.

Smith made it two for Derek McInnes's side with a technically perfect finish, reaffirming former Aberdeen manager Craig Brown's comparison of the 18-year-old with Dutch legend Dennis Bergkamp.

Prior to those goals, Falkirk did force Aberdeen goalkeeper Jamie Langfield into one fantastic save when he dived to palm away Jay Fulton's close-range effort.

Interview - Falkirk manager Gary Holt

Calvin Zola had also put himself about in good ways and bad ways - having a header cleared off the line by Stephen Kingsley after he had earlier slid in feet-first on McGovern to earn a booking.

Zola's replacement, Vernon, provided further evidence that his goal-scoring touch has well and truly returned.

He lurked at the back-post to turn in Robertson's headed flick for the third before picking up the scraps from Smith's parried strike to side-foot home Aberdeen's fourth.

Peter Pawlett's burst of pace had Falkirk defender Will Vaulks diving in and conceding the spot-kick.

There was never going to be any taker other than Vernon and he scored emphatically into the top left corner.

Aberdeen manager Derek McInnes: "The most pleasing side of it was how hard we worked for the result. You can never be too displeased when you score five goals.

"That's our fifth clean-sheet in a row so there was a bit of pride there to keep it at zero.

"Scott Vernon's a popular boy and he's worked hard for that. He was unlucky not to start tonight.

"Every round brings a different challenge and hopefully we can get a home tie next. I've never known a club where we get a couple of victories and there's so much excitement. We're just trying to keep an even keel on it."

Falkirk manager Gary Holt: "We've got to learn from it. We'll debate it and pick the bones of it tomorrow.

"Too many had an off-night. If they don't turn up and try the things that you try and instil in them and that you know they can do - I don't know whether they froze on the occasion or whether it's because Aberdeen got at us.

"I thought Conor McGrandles was excellent. He stood up to the test and he was always looking for the ball.

"Yes, it's a sore one but you learn from defeat."

Lineup, Bookings (3) & Substitutions (5)

Falkirk

  • 01 McGovern
  • 02 Duffy
  • 03 Kingsley
  • 05 Flynn
  • 06 Vaulks Booked
  • 07 Fulton
  • 08 Alston (Bingham - 56' )
  • 10 Sibbald
  • 11 McGrandles Booked
  • 33 Loy
  • 09 Roberts (Leahy - 66' )

Substitutes

  • 12 Bowman
  • 22 Kyle Turnbull
  • 34 McCracken
  • 19 Leahy
  • 13 Bingham

Aberdeen

  • 01 Langfield
  • 02 Shaughnessy
  • 03 Robertson
  • 06 Reynolds
  • 27 Hector
  • 11 Hayes (Murray - 67' )
  • 14 Smith (Magennis - 80' )
  • 16 Pawlett
  • 18 Low
  • 22 Jack
  • 07 Zola Booked (Vernon - 33' )

Substitutes

  • 20 Weaver
  • 17 Wylde
  • 35 Murray
  • 09 Vernon
  • 21 Magennis
Ref: Mclean
Att: 2,838

Match Stats

Shots

3 17

On target

1 12

Corners

1 9

Fouls

8 4

Live Text Commentary

90:00 +2:19 Full time

Full Time The referee brings the game to a close.

90:00 +1:34

Michael Hector makes a clearance.

90:00 +1:28

The ball is delivered by Kieran Duffie.

88:55

Ryan Jack takes the chance to get an effort at goal. Michael McGovern catches the ball.

86:53

Rory Loy takes the free kick.

86:43

Ryan Jack gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Rory Loy.

85:55

Corner taken by Craig Murray from the right by-line.

85:21

Chance falls to Josh Magennis who heads at goal.

81:25

Nicky Low takes the chance to get an effort at goal and missed to the right of the goal.

79:36 Substitution

Substitution Josh Magennis joins the action as a substitute, replacing Cameron Smith.

77:58

Michael Hector restarts play with the free kick.

77:52

Nicky Low fouled by Craig Sibbald, the ref awards a free kick.

77:24

Clearance by Will Vaulks.

77:20

Craig Murray crosses the ball.

76:06

Free kick crossed by Nicky Low.

75:44 Booking

Booking

75:44

Conor McGrandles shown a yellow card.

75:38

Conor McGrandles concedes a free kick for a foul on Cameron Smith.

75:21 Booking

Booking

75:21

Will Vaulks is booked.

74:22 Goal scored

Goal! - Scott Vernon - Falkirk 0 - 5 Aberdeen Scott Vernon scores a penalty. Falkirk 0-5 Aberdeen.

73:34

Penalty awarded for a foul by Will Vaulks on Peter Pawlett.

72:29

Clearance by Michael Hector.

72:24

Free kick crossed by Jay Fulton.

71:57

Stephen Kingsley fouled by Craig Murray, the ref awards a free kick.

69:08

Ryan Jack takes the free kick.

68:41

Jay Fulton gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Clark Robertson.

67:42

Corner taken by Peter Pawlett from the left by-line.

66:47 Substitution

Substitution Craig Murray replaces Jonny Hayes.

65:36 Substitution

Substitution Luke Leahy is brought on as a substitute for Philip Roberts.

63:40

Michael Hector takes a shot and went wide right of the target.

61:32

Header by Scott Vernon misses to the right of the target.

61:25

Corner taken by Jonny Hayes from the right by-line.

61:06

Cameron Smith takes a shot. A parry by Michael McGovern prevents the goal.

60:36

Jamie Langfield takes the free kick.

60:04

The referee blows for offside against Philip Roberts.

55:34 Substitution

Substitution (Falkirk) makes a substitution, with Rakish Bingham coming on for Blair Alston.

54:58 Goal scored

Goal! - Scott Vernon - Falkirk 0 - 4 Aberdeen Scott Vernon scores a right footed goal. Falkirk 0-4 Aberdeen.

54:39

Cameron Smith takes the chance to get an effort at goal. Parried by Michael McGovern back into danger.

53:16

Assist on the goal came from Clark Robertson.

53:16 Goal scored

Goal! - Scott Vernon - Falkirk 0 - 3 Aberdeen Scott Vernon slots the ball right footed into the goal. Falkirk 0-3 Aberdeen.

53:07

Corner taken by Jonny Hayes from the left by-line.

52:54

Clearance by Jonathan Flynn.

52:46

The ball is delivered by Peter Pawlett.

51:09

Shot by Nicky Low cleared the net.

50:03

Michael McGovern takes the free kick.

49:57

The assistant referee signals for offside against Cameron Smith.

49:20

Jay Fulton manages to make a clearance.

49:14

Corner taken by Jonny Hayes from the left by-line.

48:57

Shot by Scott Vernon. Michael McGovern parries the ball away.

48:00

Clearance by Blair Alston.

47:55

Free kick crossed by Jonny Hayes.

47:34

Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on Nicky Low by Jay Fulton.

47:18

Clearance made by Conor McGrandles.

45:25

Jonny Hayes delivers the ball.

45:01

The second half kicks off.

45:00 +0:15

Free kick taken by Jay Fulton.

44:43

Peter Pawlett gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Blair Alston.

44:25 Half time

Half Time The ref blows to signal half-time.

43:52

The ball is crossed by Kieran Duffie.

42:50

Philip Roberts crosses the ball.

41:41

Centre by Clark Robertson.

38:40

Craig Sibbald has an effort at goal and missed to the right of the target.

35:50

Assist on the goal came from Joe Shaughnessy.

35:50 Goal scored

Goal! - Cameron Smith - Falkirk 0 - 2 Aberdeen Cameron Smith slots the ball right footed into the goal. Falkirk 0-2 Aberdeen.

35:33

Jonny Hayes delivers the ball.

33:07

Ryan Jack takes the free kick.

32:49

Foul by Blair Alston on Peter Pawlett, free kick awarded.

32:12 Substitution

Substitution (Aberdeen) makes a substitution, with Scott Vernon coming on for Calvin Zola.

31:34

Blair Alston manages to make a clearance.

31:24

Corner taken by Jonny Hayes from the left by-line.

30:07

Shot by Joe Shaughnessy.

29:53

Corner taken by Jonny Hayes.

25:40

Free kick taken by Conor McGrandles.

25:34

Unfair challenge on Jay Fulton by Calvin Zola results in a free kick.

23:37

Free kick taken by Joe Shaughnessy.

23:10

Philip Roberts gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Joe Shaughnessy.

22:10 Goal scored

Goal! - Joe Shaughnessy - Falkirk 0 - 1 Aberdeen Joe Shaughnessy scores with their left foot. Falkirk 0-1 Aberdeen.

21:26

Corner taken by Ryan Jack.

17:51

Clearance by Jonathan Flynn.

16:32

Free kick taken by Jamie Langfield.

16:10

Clark Robertson fouled by Blair Alston, the ref awards a free kick.

12:49

Shot by Jay Fulton went wide right of the target.

12:11

Clearance made by Joe Shaughnessy.

12:08

Kieran Duffie crosses the ball.

11:39

Calvin Zola takes the chance to get an effort at goal. Michael McGovern catches the ball.

9:15

Jonny Hayes takes a shot. A parry by Michael McGovern prevents the goal.

8:51

Corner taken by Jay Fulton from the left by-line.

8:33

Shot by Jay Fulton. Headed chance falls to Calvin Zola. Michael McGovern parries the effort to safety.

7:58

Corner taken by Jonny Hayes from the left by-line.

6:17

Michael McGovern restarts play with the free kick.

5:37

Calvin Zola shown a yellow card.

5:37 Booking

Booking

4:51

The ball is crossed by Jonny Hayes.

0:00

The game begins.

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