Celtic cruised into the quarter-finals of the Scottish Cup with a 5-1 win over St Mirren after a late flurry of goals at Parkhead.
The tireless Daizen Maeda opened the scoring in the 16th minute but the visitors, the only home team to beat Celtic this season, showed spirit and determination to stay in the game.
However, substitute Reo Hatate hit the spot in the 76th minute after Buddies defender Richard Taylor was sent off by referee Steven McLean for allowing a VAR-confirmed handball to disallow another goal.
Fellow sub Oh Hyeon-gyu scored his first Celtic goal in the 80th minute before Stephen Robinson’s side reduced the deficit with a goal from Mark O’Hara.
Ange Postecoglou’s side, as always, kept going and substitute Matt O’Riley fired home from the edge of the box before Hatate added a fifth with a stunning strike in stoppage time.
How Celtic reached the quarters
The home team chasing three, with midfielder David Turnbull at Hatate, started quickly.
With just a few minutes played Saints, with Taylor and Declan Gallagher back to Charles Dunne and Greg Kiltie, had Trevor Carson to thank for the first time.
The Buddies manager headed a powerful drive from Portuguese winger Jota across the post for a corner that failed to trouble the visitors.
Paisley’s side tried to push forward but the problem was not far away and in the 11th minute Maeda nodded a cross but saw it go wide of Carson.
Fellow Japanese striker Kyogo Furuhashi withdrew with what appeared to be a shoulder injury to be replaced by winger Liel Abada as Maeda moved into the middle.
Moments later he was in the right place to turn in Aaron Mooy’s cross for the opener, after the Australian international was brought down by Abada.
Instead of collapsing, the Buddies fought back and Hoops defender Cameron Carter-Vickers fired over Alex Greive, who was later injured and replaced by ex-Celt Tony Watt, a recent signing from Dundee United.
St Mirren striker Curtis Main showed little protection from the Hoops defense but it was his block that denied Celtic defender Carl Starfelt a shot a minute before the break.
Robinson’s side came out of the second half in good fashion but had a chance when Alistair Johnston’s cut back hit Buddies full back Marcus Fraser and rebounded off the post.
Postecoglou made three changes on the hour mark with Hatate, O’Riley and Oh coming on for Turnbull, Mooy and Jota.
St Mirren continued to outnumber them but were unable to test goalkeeper Joe Hart.
There was a lengthy VAR check in the 71st minute after Abada’s close range shot from Taylor. Referee McLean looked at his monitor and pointed to the spot to huge cheers from the home fans before sending Taylor off for handball, with Hatate stepping up to knock the ball into the corner of the net.
There was also excitement when Oh grabbed the third and drove in a slow drive after Carson’s long-range effort from goalkeeper Callum McGregor.
Saints pulled a goal back from the spot after Starfelt came on for Kiltie, captain O’Hara beat Hart from 12 yards. But Celtic responded with late strikes from O’Riley and Hatate to add gloss to the scoreline.
St Mirren’s The next Scottish Premiership game is at home Motherwell on the 15th of February. Start at 7.45pm.
Celtic recipient Aberdeen in their next league game on 18 February. Starting at 3pm.