Falkirk boss John McGlynn claims he and Inverness manager Billy Dodds will be delighted to have avoided the Old Firm in the Scottish Cup semi-final draw after being paired to meet at Hampden Park next month.
Substitute Kai Kennedy’s dramatic late strike gave the Bairns a 2-1 comeback win over Championship side Ayr United to reach the last-four.
Somerset Park striker Dipo Akinyemi drove in for Lee Bullen’s side after 12 minutes only for the hosts, who finished sixth in League One last season, to deservedly level in the 66th minute through a Callumn Morrison penalty.
Ayr’s Chris Maguire hit the post with a penalty in the 81st minute before Kennedy flashed in a deflected drive minutes later – before the semi-final draw saw holders Rangers handed a clash with Celtic.
McGlynn said: “I think Billy Dodds and I will be delighted that we are playing each other – and that’s no disrespect.
“We both would have wanted to stay away from Celtic and Rangers and we’ve managed that.
“Inverness were different class against Kilmarnock on Friday night. They are a right good side and we know we will be in a game.
“But Ayr are fourth in the Championship and we have shown we can match them.
“The players have got plenty of motivation to keep their league form going ahead of the semi-final.
“This club was at rock bottom last summer so it’s a dream come true for us to be in the semi-finals of the Scottish Cup.
‘The fans will love their trip to Hampden. I don’t know how many we will take – maybe 15,000 to 20,000.
“There were 6,375 at the game tonight, they have a big occasion to look forward to and it means everything.
‘Financially it’s a big pay day for the football club and that can only help us strengthen.”
Ayr boss Bullen revealed Maguire sat in the dressing room “with his head in his hands, devastated” but admitted the pain was shared around.
He said: “There’s a lot of boys really down in that dressing room.
“I’ve told them they are going to get a lot of highs and a lot of lows in their career. Tonight is a memory they’re going to have etched in their minds as one of the lowest points because there was an opportunity there.
“I’ve heard the draw which makes it even more sore.
“We started the game tremendously well and could have got another two goals but then Falkirk grew into the game and the second half was a bit end to end.
“When you get that opportunity with less than 10 minutes to go you’re hoping it’s your name that’s going to go in the hat.
“It didn’t go our way, then two minutes after that we are suddenly facing a mountain to climb.
“We can’t allow this disappointment to define our season. We have nine games left in the league where that group of players could create massive history for this football club.
“We have to deal with this pain for the next 24-48 hours then get smiles back on our face and go for that game on Saturday.”