KILMARNOCK, Scotland (AFP) - Celtic crushed Kilmarnock 5-1 on Saturday at Rugby Park to book their place in the quarter finals of the Scottish Cup - with their new Greek striker Georgios Samaras completing the scoring on his debut.
A double for Australian striker Scott McDonald, sandwiching goals from Gary Caldwell and Dutch international Jan Vennegoor of Hesselink, put Gordon Strachan's side on the road to the emphatic victory - with Jamie Hamill scoring a consolation shortly before McDonald's second.
But the icing on the cake for the Parkhead side came with five minutes remaining when Samaras - playing his first game since arriving in a loan deal from Manchester City - scored a superb fifth goal for Strachan's side.
The Celtic manager believed it was possibly his side's best away display of the season.
Strachan said: "We were worried arriving at the ground in the rain and the snow but the pitch was a pleasant surprise and the players' attitude was first class.
"For the first 10 minutes we were a bit sloppy but I think we were getting used to playing on grass again and after that there was good variation to our play.
"It was probably our best performance away from home this season. There's always pressure for us just to win but today the players were able to go and express themselves and they enjoyed the game."
Celtic had dominated from the start of the match and deservedly opened the scoring in the 22nd minute.
A reverse pass from Japanese playmaker Shunsuke Nakamura sent 19-year-old right-back Paul Caddis racing towards the byline and his driven cross was met by McDonald at the front post to blast the ball into the roof of the net from only a few yards out.
Although Celtic continued to over-run their hosts it took until the 52nd minute for them to increase their lead.
A Nakamura corner was flicked on by Italian midfielder Massimo Donati at the front post and Caldwell muscled his way into the six-yard box to bullet a header home.
And in the 58th minute Celtic confirmed their place in the last eight of the competition with a third goal.
Republic of Ireland international Aiden McGeady slid a perfectly weighted ball into the path of Vennegoor of Hesselink and rifled a left-foot shot into the back of the net beyond goalkeeper Alan Combe.
In the 66th minute Killie looked to have grabbed a lifeline when a cross from their Australian midfielder Danny Invincibile was headed home by Hamill at the back post.
But a minute later Celtic restored their three goal advantage when Vennegoor of Hesselink beat Combe to Nakamura's pass and cut the ball back for McDonald to score into the empty net.
Strachan took the opportunity to hand a debut to Samaras and he took advantage to score his first goal for the club in the 85th minute with a fine individual effort.
There seemed little danger when the Greek striker collected the ball on the right touchline but he glided past Killie defender Ford before curling the ball into the far corner of the net.
Kilmarnock manager Jim Jefferies was not happy at his side's performance and admitted they deserved to lose.
He said: "Our form was not the best going into the game and we were lacking in confidence but we had nothing to lose.
"We talked about keeping on top of Celtic and competing for everything but instead we just sat back and in the first half only Alan Combe kept us in it.
"When you're up against a side of better quality and give them so much room then you'll get punished and that's what happened to us today."
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