Falkirk 0-5 Aberdeen

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Highlights - Falkirk 0-5 Aberdeen

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.

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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.

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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."

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