Ray McKinnon has expressed his pride at the way his Dundee United kids stuck to their task and eventually overcame a streetwise Linfield in the Irn-Bru Cup on Saturday.
An injury time strike from teenager Logan Chalmers earned the Tangerines a place in the quarter-final after a tough tie with the Northern Ireland champions.
Linfield came to Tannadice with an experienced line-up, while the home ranks were packed with young talent after Ray changed the team completely from the previous week’s win over Dunfermline.
That meant for long spells, particularly in the first half, United were under pressure but the gaffer was pleased with the way his kids handled that.
“I was delighted for them,” said Ray. “We must have had 10 U/19s on that park by the end and against a really strong experienced Linfield team — they were men.
“The kids had to work hard in the first half and we said to them at half-time to believe in themselves and I thought they got better and better in the second half and in the last 20 minutes they had some real pressure.
“It was great experience for them and winning will give them a boost in terms of showing if they work hard there are possibilities for them.
“They grew into the game brilliantly. I was really proud of them.”
Ray did acknowledge the sprinkling of more experienced men he included, more than played their part as well.
He added: “I thought Sam Stanton was great in the middle of the park. He was effortless on the ball.
“It was great for him to get 90 minutes and I thought he was outstanding,
“And I thought Stewart Murdoch was great. Both my centre halves were and you are talking about one in Stewart who’s a midfielder that’s been converted to full-back and now centre half for the first time.
“Then there’s Scott Allardice who’s a midfielder but is showing in this cup he can play in the middle of the defence as well.
“It was really pleasing to see how well they did.
“Most of all I was pleased for the young ones because they showed a resilience you don’t always associated with young players.
“They’ve got us to the quarter-finals and they’ve earned the right to play when that tie comes round next month.”
The Terrors now face another Northern Irish side in the form of Crusaders in the quarter finals.