St Johnstone slumped to a second defeat by a League One side as Forfar Athletic won 2-1 to move into the Scottish League Cup last 16 as group runners-up.
Hamilton Accies narrowly avoided being the third Scottish Premiership side to exit when they came from 2-0 behind to beat neighbours Airdrieonians 3-2.
Hearts were held to a 1-1 draw by East Fife but qualify as group winners.
Livingston, Motherwell and Championship side Dunfermline Athletic also topped their sections after handsome wins.
St Johnstone, who lost their other away fixture at Montrose, and St Mirren had already been eliminated before Saturday’s fixtures, while Hibernian, Ross County and Partick Thistle had secured their places as group winners.
Hearts miss out on being among the seeds after not only being held to a draw by their League One hosts but missing a bonus point by losing the penalty shoot.
The Methil side must wait on Sunday’s Group D decider between Dundee and Inverness Caledonian Thistle before knowing if they qualify as one of the four best runners-up.
A draw at Dens Park will mean both Championship sides, who are equal on points, progress instead, but a loser in that game would miss out not only on a place in the last 16 but the £40,000 prize money for doing so.
Greenock Morton won their penalty shoot-out against Queen of the South after a thrilling 3-3 draw to qualify as group runners-up behind Motherwell.
Top-flight sides struggle
Having been left unhappy with the collapse of negotiations to sign Aberdeen striker Stevie May, and with promoted County having secured their place as group winners with four consecutive wins, St Johstone manager Tommy Wright’s mood will have darkened further.
Former Hearts midfielder Callum Tapping opened the scoring for the hosts after only two minutes and Ross Forbes added the second just after the break, with Matty Kennedy’s headed reply not enough to avoid a defeat that means his side finish fourth in Group B after Montrose drew with Brechin City.
The history books show that, prior to their meeting at Methil, Hearts and East Fife had shared five wins apiece in their 11 previous League Cup meetings, but the Edinburgh side’s fans voiced their displeasure at the failure to beat rivals now two divisions below.
Having struggled in the group stages for the last two seasons, they at least top their group this time, but they needed a penalty shoot-out bonus point after a draw with Dundee United and two late goals to avoid a shock defeat by League Two side Stenhousemuir this time.
Jamie Walker’s first goal since returning from Wigan Athletic got Craig Levein’s side off to a good start in Methil, but Chris Duggan’s second-half equaliser, followed by Aaron Dunsmore’s shoot-out winner, was greeted with boos from the visiting support.
Hamilton were in an even more precarious position after goals from Callum Smith and Ally Roy gave Airdrie a deserved half-time lead as they vied to finish group runners-up behind Thistle.
However, two Ross Cunningham penalties stung Accies into life and Marios Ogkmpoe fired a winner with a minute remaining.
Goals galore for others
Motherwell’s impressive start to the season continues, their 4-0 win over Annan Athletic chalking up a fourth straight win with 13 goals scored with none conceded.
Defender Liam Donnelly’s double took his goal tally to four in four matches, while 18-year-old striker James Scott grabbed his third of the season.
Livingston handed out more misery to Berwick Rangers, whose 5-0 thumping at Tony Macaroni Stadium means they have lost 16 goals and scored none since dropping out of the Scottish Professional Football League into the Lowland League.
Defender Ricki Lamie took his season’s tally to three, while midfielder Craig Sibbald also scored a double.
Dunfermline returned to goalscoring form as they bounced back from their shock midweek defeat by Edinburgh City to end Lowland League champions East Kilbride’s hopes of being the first first non-league side to qualify from the group stage.
Striker Kevin Nisbet, the summer signing from Raith Rovers, took his tally to five for the season with a double and set up another for Josh Coley in a 4-0 win.
Even without the presence of Queens goal machine Stephen Dobbie, they and Morton served up a thriller as the hosts celebrated the 80th birthday of former player and manager Allan McGraw, who once found the net 61 times in a single season.
After Lee Kilday put Queens ahead, goals from John Sutton, Nicky Cadden and Bob McHugh looked to have given the Greenock side victory until a Jim McAlister own goal and Callum Semple’s equaliser took the game into penalties, with Morton progressing thanks to Sam Ramsbottom’s save from LeWIS Kidd.
So close and yet…
There was heartbreak for Ayr United and Arbroath as late goals ended the Championship sides’ hopes of qualifying.
Stranraer’s Adam Cummings twice pegged back the hosts at Somerset Park as Ian McCall’s side fell short despite ending as Group G runners-up to Livingston.
League One champions Arbroath would have qualified behind Hibs with a win over Championship rivals Alloa Athletic.
However, although Bobby Linn put the hosts ahead early on, evergreen midfielder Alan Trouten, who was group stage top scorer two seasons ago, scored twice in the Wasps’ 3-2 win.
Cove profit from loans
Cove Rangers warmed up for their debut in League Two as the Highland League champions’ two midweek midfield loan signings found the net on their debuts.
Aberdeen’s Chris Antoniazzi opened the scoring and Dundee United’s Declan Glass grabbed their third in an impressive 3-0 dismissal of League One side Raith Rovers.
The second-round draw will be made on Sunday after tomorrow’s final match of the group stage, the Group D decider between Dundee and Caley Thistle.
In the earlier kick-off, Queen’s Park host Clyde in a game that will merely decide who finishes bottom of Group F.