21 Jan St Johnstone 2 – 0 Stenhousemuir
St Johnstone ensured there would be no shock as they pieced together a comfortable 2-0 Scottish Cup victory over Stenhousemuir.
First-half goals from Steven MacLean and Blair Alston killed off any hopes the visitors had of springing a surprise and the Premiership hosts cruised to victory.
The League One strugglers will have been pleased to have put up a fight in the second period but there was never any real danger of Saints losing their grip on the tie and progressing to the fifth round.
Stenhousemuir, currently second bottom of League One, suffered the worst possible start when Saints took the lead after just five minutes.
Chris Millar delivered a pinpoint cross from the right edge of the box and MacLean ghosted away from his marker all too easily to head in from six yards.
A Danny Swanson drive that drifted inches past in the 20th minute was the closest St Johnstone came before they added a second in the 32nd minute.
Graham Cummins flicked on a high ball for strike partner MacLean and the opening goalscorer’s back-heel teed up Alston to fire in from the edge of the box.
Cummins should have added a third in the 70th minute as Stenhousemuir’s resistance at the start of the second half began to wane.
Alston’s low cross from the right was perfect for the Irishman but somehow he scooped his shot wide from just six yards.
David Wotherspoon saw a 20-yard drive deflected wide as St Johnstone looked to put some gloss on their win.
Manager Tommy Wright introduced Liam Craig and Chris Kane in search of some fresh impetus as the game limped towards full-time.
However, with Alston’s injury-time volley being deflected over and Kane’s shot on the turn being booted off the line, Stenhousemuir earned credit when they saw out the tie without conceding again.