Raith Rovers boss Gary Locke hailed his super subs after Declan McManus and Rudi Skacel helped set up a William Hill Scottish Cup replay with Hearts.
Locke threw on on-loan Fleetwood frontman McManus and former Tynecastle hero Skacel with 10 minutes left of their fourth-round clash as they trailed to Jamie Walker’s first-half opener.
And the move paid off in the final minute as McManus got a deft touch to 37-year-old Skacel’s volley to seal a 1-1 draw at Stark’s Park.
Ex-Hearts boss Locke and his side will now head to Edinburgh on Wednesday night and he felt a return ticket was the least his team merited.
He said: “We totally deserved that. I was disappointed because it was our mistake which let Hearts in to score.
“But we responded well and in the second half I felt we were the better side.
“I was worried we might not get back in after Mark Stewart missed a great chance because that’s the way things have been going for us lately. When that happens you start worrying somebody upstairs doesn’t like you.
“But we kept at it and felt we made the right changes. The ball fell to Rudi and it was a great strike. He’s getting on a bit now but he has qualities and that’s why I brought him here.
“I’m over the moon for Declan too as his hard work deserves that goal. Things haven’t quite been working out for him but hopefully that goal will give him all the confidence in the world.
“It’s going to be hard going to Tynecastle. It will be a different game as Hearts will have a big crowd behind them but if we can play as well as we did in the second half we feel we can cause them problems.”
Walker netted eight minutes before the interval after a mistake by on-loan Rangers youngster Jordan Thompson.
Stewart somehow smashed against the crossbar from six yards as Rovers looked to respond after the break but they got their reward late on with McManus’ leveller.
The teams will now do it all again in three days’ time but that has frustrated Hearts boss Ian Cathro.
He said: “It’s not great. I didn’t know the replay was on Wednesday until about 10 minutes ago.
“It seems a bit crazy to play it back to back to be honest. I understand there are scheduling demands but that doesn’t make sense for a lot of reasons – but we have no choice in the matter.
“If you’re going to judge it on the football, then we were the better team. In that sense is drawing fair? Maybe not.
“But they had some pressure too and if we don’t deal with that, it’s difficult to feel hard done by.”