Cove Rangers Colts were praised for their “heroic” display after they lost 3-0 to Rangers at Ibrox in the quarter-finals of the Scottish Youth Cup.
The Highland League side’s youngsters held their Premier League hosts for more than an hour before fatigue set in and the Light Blues booked their place in the semis with two late goals.
Cove head of youth development Gary Hake said: “I couldn’t be any prouder of our lads. To still be level with full-time opponents after an hour was heroic stuff.
“Make no mistake, we gave them a proper game. We only lost out in the end through tiredness and having to make changes because of injuries.”
Cove had two excellent chances in the early stages of the first half.
Cameron Carnie fired a 20-yard shot just wide of the home keeper’s right post.
Dylan Forsyth went even closer with a curling 22-yard shot that shaved the top of the crossbar.
Cove keeper Balint Demus did his bit with a fine diving save from an effort by Joshua McPake.
The deadlock was finally broke in the 62nd when McPAKE broke into the Cove area on the left to fire home from 14 yards.
James MAXWELL made it 2-0 in the 80th minute when he cut in from the right wing and curled a shot home from the edge of the Cove area.
Cove were reduced to 10 men when striker Carnie was stretchered off five minutes from time with a knee injury.
The Glasgow side made the extra man count when Joe BALDE broke into the Cove area to score the third deep into injury time.
l Inspirational captain Ethan Ross netted both goals in a 2-1 defeat of Kilmarnock at the Balmoral Stadium to fire Aberdeen U18s to the Scottish Youth Cup semi-final.
Skipper ROSS opened the scoring in the 16th minute with a composed close-range finish.
Killie levelled just before half-time through BRINDLEY.
However, ROSS fired the Reds into the last four from the penalty spot after he was bundled over in the box in the 58th minute.