Sauzee's long and grinding road from Stranraer

Scottish Cup
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The Independent Football

The Scottish Cup is no respecter of reputation, a fact Franck Sauzée was undoubtedly dwelling on as he made the long and winding journey back from Stranraer last night with his Hibernian players.

The Scottish Cup is no respecter of reputation, a fact Franck Sauzée was undoubtedly dwelling on as he made the long and winding journey back from Stranraer last night with his Hibernian players.

Stair Park is about as far as it is possible to get from Munich's Olympic stadium, where the former French international helped Marseille win the European Cup final in 1993, and the Second Division club contrived to make life as uncomfortable for last season's runners-up and their new manager in a 0-0 draw.

Hampden last May was a mere memory for Sauzée, whose players could not buck the trend of 12 games without a win which has plunged the Edinburgh club into trouble in the Scottish Premier League. Hibernian had enough chances in the first half, but were denied each time by keeper Mark McGeown. Anxiety reigned as they settled for a replay at Easter Road and the chance to earn a possible trip to Rangers in the next round.

Though the weather claimed the bulk of the 16 third-round ties, Rugby Park's undersoil heating ensured that Kilmarnock had to undergo scrutiny as everyone's tip to go out.

Since winning the Scottish Cup in 1997, Kilmarnock have fallen victim to lower-division giantkillers on three occasions, but a ruthless show of first-half finishing ensured a 3-0 win over Airdrie.

The First Division promotion chasers were sunk after just 18 minutes as Ally Mitchell pounced on a mistake by the goalkeeper Allan Ferguson and then the former Airdrie midfielder Jesus Sanjuan scored against his old club by powering in a header from Paul Di Giacomo's cross.

Peter Canero then struck a third on the half-hour, finishing off another Di Giacomo cross to set up a possible tie with Celtic in the next round.

There was no shock, either, at Tannadice as Dundee United, who last won the trophy in 1994, threw a spanner in the work of Forres Mechanics' bid for glory by winning 3-0. Superb goalkeeping from Mark McRitchie kept the Highland League side alive before he was beaten by three spectacular long-range shots.

Hasney Aljofree made the breakthrough on 50 minutes with a 25-yard free-kick, before unleashing another unstoppable shot from the same distance seven minutes later. Charlie Miller then got in on the act for United with a blistering 25-yard effort five minutes from the end.

The only all-SPL tie saw Dunfermline beat Motherwell 3-1 at East End Park. The visitors were hoping to emulate their Cup success of 1991 and deflect attention from their impending relegation battle, but Steve Crawford finished off a Barry Nicholson cut-back and then Scott Thomson curled in a free-kick to put Dunfermline in command. The Scotland cap Crawford added a shot on the turn two minutes after the interval and Stuart Elliott's late header was simply a consolation.

Ayr United avoided slipping up at Banff in the snowbound Highlands, routing non-League Deveronvale 6-0. A brace from Eddie Annand killed the contest in 10 minutes.

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