Aberdeen midfielder James Maddison believes the Dons proved they can challenge Celtic for the Scottish Premiership title with the dramatic 2-1 win against rivals Rangers.
The on-loan Norwich City midfielder enjoyed the best of moment of his career to date by curling home a delightful free kick to win the game in the final minute.
An Andy Halliday penalty 11 minutes from time which cancelled out Jonny Hayes’ opener had seemed certain to ensure Rangers would depart Pittodrie with a point.
The Dons were not at their their best for much of the 90 minutes and, at times, looked jaded from their exertions in Thursday’s 1-0 win against St Johnstone in the quarter-final of the Betfred Cup, also secured with a 90th minute winner.
But 19-year-old Maddison, who came on as a substitute at half time, believes the win could prove to be the platform for a genuine title challenge.
He said: “I’ve never scored a better goal than that – and I think it will be tough to beat.
“I really enjoyed that. I’m really happy for myself and the team. I think we sent a message out to Scottish football today that we’re not here just to plod along, we’re here to challenge.
“We don’t want to look too far ahead. But, with the squad we’ve got, we’re capable of beating anyone on their day.
“So we head to Kilmarnock next Saturday looking for three points.”
Maddison has enjoyed a dream start to life in Scotland with two goals in four appearances for the Dons and the Englishman revealed he always felt he was going to score the winner.
He added: “It was an unbelievable feeling because that’s what I dream of in the build-up to the game.
“There was a lot of hype around the match and you go through scenarios in your head – well I do anyway – and one of those was scoring the winning goal late on.
“That’s what happened and it was exactly as I planned. I came on to change the game because the first half wasn’t good enough. It was a tough game to come into because the atmosphere was electric and it was a really quick match.
“I knew at 1-1 we might get a chance to win it and we did that with the free kick.
“I was always going to take it. Niall McGinn and I have been having banter about free kicks because we practice them together.
“But he was off at the time so I didn’t have him chirping in my ear wanting to take it.
“I would have been taking it anyway, definitely. Was I nervous stepping up? No, I don’t get nervous because I have confidence in my ability. I knew I was able to stick it away and thankfully I did.
“This was a massive game. It’s just three points but it feels like much more because of the build-up and the hype.”