Falkirk’s live TV game transformed into a video nasty as Scott Vernon ran in a hat-trick for Aberdeen.
The Dons knocked the Bairns out of the cup they memorably reached the semi-final stage of 18 months ago, but there was to be no repeat despite a promising opening.
Goals from Joe Shaughnessy and Cammy Smith gave the SPFL Premiership side the lead then sub Vernon fired a second-half treble in a demoralising drubbing for Falkirk.
It was a frantic opening to the game with multiple chances within the first ten minutes.
Aberdeen had the first chance with a clear-cut opening presented to them by Will Vaulks. The defender was short with a
sixth minute header back to goal and Calvin Zola seized the opportunity to chase the loose ball. He slid in and clattered
Michael McGovern on the ground and was cautioned.
The Aberdeen forward was head and shoulders above Falkirk’s centre-backs but Johnny Flynn marshalled him well to block a
low cross to the near-post from Johnny Hayes.
The big man caused panic at the set-piece and his header was chested off the line by Kingsley before Falkirk scrambled
clear, and turned defence into attack.
Alston took the ball in the right-channel and once inside the penalty area thed efence was given a temporary reprieve as
the midfielder crossed low for Jay Fulton to stab at goal. Jamie Langfield was quickly across to make a two-handed parry to
the effort and push the ball clear and i8t was cleared before Craig Sibbald could take the rebound.
The corner though just sparked another attack as Aberdeen raced up the park and Cammy Smith had a shot saved before Nicky
Low shot the rebound over the bar.
From the frantic end-to-end play in those opening ten minutes the game settled down a little but as it did Aberdeen took
the lead. A long throw from Clark Robertson caught Blair Alston out and as the ball landed under his feet, Joe Shaughnessy
drilled a low shot into the corner of the net for the 22 minute lead.
Falkirk were lacking height and strength but the passing game was holding up when the Bairns could gain possession. At
set-pieces they were at a disadvantage and as Kingsley had done earlier, Craig Sibbald had to head a Johnny Hayes volley off the line on the half-hour.
Moments later Derek McInnes replaced Calvin Zola in a bid to stop the frontman being red-carded after persistent calls
against him by ref Steven McLean, Scott Vernon was his replacement. But the Dons were 2-0 up on 36 minutes when
Shaughnessy headed across goal and Cammy Smith wasn’t marked and took his time to direct the ball beyond Michael McGovern.
Phil Roberts had been a spectator for most of the first half, but performed a neat pirouette to beat Shaughnessy on the
left wing and he stabbed a clever ball into the box but it was just ahead of Rory Loy and Langfield gathered.
But it was more of the same in the second half with Roberts iscolated at the half-way line. Somehow Shaughnessy got the
better of Vaulks and played in Vernon but McGovern made a brave block at the near post. However he couldn’t get close to
his second attempt of the second half and Vernon made it 3-0 on 53 minutes after Blair Alston had conceded a needless
corner and the ball had not been cleared and Vernon nipped in at the back post to slide into the net.
The Bairns were floored, the stands emptied, and the same modd was reflected by the players. Verbnon was only too happy to
capitalise on another hesitant defence and while no-one cleared when McGovern thwarted Low’s shot, Vernon pounced and fired
the ball into the unguarded net.
Aberdeen eased off significantly and Falkirk were allowed possession but faileds to test Langfield, with Luke Leahy on for the injured Phil Roberts and Rakish Bingham replacing the out of sorts Blair Alston.
Craig Sibbald had the best effort at goal on 73 minutesd with a half volley that the keeper gathered at the second attempt but it was a sorry end for a Falkirk side that had dazzled on previous televised cup encounters.
It deteriorated further when Vaulks was cautioned for a mistimed tackle on Peter Pawlett on the by-line and Scott Vernon shot the resulting spot-kick high into the net for his hat-trick.