Inverurie Locos boss Andy Low hailed their bottle after a penalty shoot-out win against Aberdeen reserves took them into the Aberdeenshire Shield semi-final.
The Railwaymen and young Dons drew 2-2 in the quarter-final at Harlaw Park, but the Highland League outfit won 5-4 on spot-kicks.
That Locos took the tie to penalties was impressive after Andy Hunter was sent off at the end of the first half.
Inverurie will play Huntly or Turriff away in the last four and Low said: “I thought the lads deserved it. Aberdeen had a lot of the ball but Andy Reid didn’t have that many saves to make.
“I thought we had chances and although Aberdeen’s possession stats were high, I always felt we were in the game.
“It was unfortunate with the red card, it was far away from the dugout so I can’t really comment on if it was a red card or not. Up to that point, I thought Andy was the best player on the park.
“But the guys responded in the second half with great discipline and shape.
“We did show bottle in the second half, in the end we had to sit in and take it to penalties because we were down to 10 men against a quality team.
“The players managed the game well and showed composure to stick the penalties away to reach the semi-final.”
Aberdeen had first-teamers Ash Taylor, Bruce Anderson and Ethan Ross in their side, but Calum DINGWALL fired Locos ahead in the 21st minute with a stunning strike from 30 yards.
The lead was doubled four minutes before half-time when Ryan STOTT latched on to Neil Gauld’s flick-on and slotted under keeper Sam Jackson.
At the end of the half, Hunter was given a straight red card for a challenge on Ethan Ross.
The Dons pulled a goal back on 70 minutes when ANDERSON netted from 20 yards, then five minutes later sub Kevin Hanratty crossed from the left and fellow sub David DANGANA tapped home.
In the shoot-out, Hanratty missed Aberdeen’s second penalty which was crucial as Neil McLean, Jonny Smith, Dingwall, Jamie Michie and Ryan Broadhurst scored to send Locos through.
Dons reserve boss Paul Sheerin said: “First half we were OK in possession but wasteful in the final third.
“The goals we conceded were frustrating as well. After the sending off, they sat in, but until Kevin Hanrattty came on we huffed and puffed in terms of being creative, but Kevin made a difference.
“When it goes to penalties it’s a lottery and they took their five penalites better than us and we’re out of the shield.”