KEVIN Keegan's Newcastle United took advantage of Manchester United and Blackburn's day off to reinforce their European credentials with a 3-0 Premier League win over Norwich yesterday. Peter Beardsley was the chief executioner, deepening the Canaries' relegation worries with two first-half goals. But fourth-placed Nottingham Forest, also looking to qualify for Europe next season, were held to a 1-1 draw against relegation candidates West Ham. Newcastle are now on 67 points, with second-placed Manchester United on 74 and leaders Blackburn on 82. Norwich, struggling for survival after a dire run of form that has seen them plunge from Euro hopefuls to relegation candidates since the New Year, were soon in trouble at St James' Park. England ace Beardsley made no mistake from the penalty spot after eight minutes when Paul Kitson was upended by Jon Newsome and he made it 2-0 three minutes before the break with a stunning drive from 30 yards. The Magpies increased their lead in the second half when Kitson, latching onto a through ball as the defence stood and stared, coolly ran in the third. Fourth-placed Nottingham Forest, with a run of five successive wins, looked certain to crush third-from-bottom West Ham at the City Ground. Instead they needed a late equaliser from Stan Collymore - his 22nd goal of the season - to earn the draw. Julian Dicks' stunning second-half free-kick, a left-foot drive into the top right corner after 67 minutes, put his side ahead with his fourth goal of the season, while at the other end Mark Rieper, a defender on loan from Danish club Brondby, was outstanding. Rieper shackled in-form Collymore and Dutch international Bryan Roy so effectively that the Hammers looked sure to steal all the points, especially after Rieper hooked a ball off the line when Forest looked certain to level. But in the end Collymore, who grabbed a double along with Roy in the 7-1 win over Sheffield Wednesday last week, poached the equaliser 10 minutes from time. Arsenal, still not entirely clear of relegation trouble, were dealt a 3-1 thrashing from London rivals Queen's Park Rangers just two days after the Gunners' Cup Winners' Cup semi-final, first-leg 3-2 victory against Sampdoria at Highbury. Arsenal fell behind to Andrew Impey's 28th-minute strike for Rangers at Loftus Road and further goals after the break from Kevin Gallen and Karl Ready settled the issue. There was a consolation goal for Arsenal captain Tony Adams with five minutes to go as his side slumped to 12th in the table. The other Premier League match saw Sheffield Wednesday beat Leicester 1-0 to creep back in the top ten. The win was an impressive show of resilience by Wednesday, who bounced back from the horror 7-1 defeat against Forest on the back of former Aston Villa striker Guy Whittingham's 39th-minute winner from a header. Leicester, second from bottom, hit the bar but offered little else. Fifth-placed Liverpool, who secured a place in Europe when they won the League Cup against Bolton last weekend, face a rejuvenated Leeds side this afternoon. In Scotland, Steve Cooper was the hero at Hampden Park as First Division Airdrie stunned Premier Division Hearts 1-0 to reach the Scottish Cup final yesterday. Alex MacDonald's side produced an excellent display to clinch their second final appearance in three years through Cooper's 28th-minute header. But it was another disappointing semi-final appearance for Tommy McLean's Tynecastle outfit, who had striker John Robertson sent off four minutes from the end for use of the elbow. Hearts have lost five semi-finals since reaching the 1986 final and it was Hampden heartbreak again for the huge majority of the 22,538 fans. The two teams met in the last four of the Cup three seasons ago when Airdrie - then a Premier Division side - won a penalty shootout before losing to Rangers in the final. But for former Hearts players Jimmy Sandison and Kenny Black it was a glorious afternoon. The Airdrie pair missed the 1992 final defeat against Rangers because of suspension but now as Airdrie skipper, Sandison, who was named Man-of-the-Match, is set to lead his team out against either Hibs or Celtic at Hampden - who will replay at Ibrox on Tuesday after drawing 0-0 on Friday - on May 27. Paul Harvey, once of Manchester United, was the creator of the goal, forcing the ball back to Smith, whose right-wing cross was headed home by the unmarked Cooper. Airdrie manager Alex MacDonald was fulsome in his praise for his players, saying: 'In the first half we were excellent, probably the best we've ever played under me.'