It was pulsating, dramatic, exciting, unpredictable, incredible.
But what Derek McInnes really hopes is for Aberdeen’s 4-3 Scottish Cup win at Kilmarnock to be a springboard for the rest of the season.
The Dons were heading out, then heading through, then heading out again in a topsy-turvy cup tie at Rugby Park before drawing level for the second time. They still went on to score a remarkable winning goal in the final four minutes of extra-time on Wednesday as they secured a quarter-final trip to St Mirren.
The win continued Aberdeen’s recovery from a five-game run without a goal and with the four-goal salvo at Rugby Park making it eight goals in the last three matches for the Dons, the manager hopes the touch paper has been lit by his players.
He said: “In the last few games I think performances have been better but it’s results that matter and the cup is so important for us as a club. Nobody knows that more than me, every year we put ourselves forward as a team that can win it.
“You can’t say that as a manager if I didn’t believe in my team – we are one of the few teams that believe from the start we can win it. Our supporters, our players, everyone at the club need a good cup run, not just for the feel-good factor, but the financial aspect is important.
“It can give your league campaign a shot of adrenaline if you’ve got quarter-finals, semi-finals and finals to look forward to. We’ve been that team and we’ve felt the benefit in the league and hopefully we can be that team again.
“We managed to stay in the cup and my players deserve so much credit because we’ve taken a bit of a kicking at times this season. But hopefully the narrative is how resilient and how strong my team were as a whole unit to make sure they won the game.
“It was a big win for us on Wednesday and I do think there has been a real improvement in performance over the last four games. We’ve got a squad that is getting stronger and getting back to a level of performance that is more akin to the standards we’ve set in the last seven years.”
It was close to 3am yesterday morning when the weary but exhilarated Dons squad arrived back in Aberdeen, no doubt still full of adrenaline at having come through a game which will live long in the memory by all who witnessed it.
The legs will be heavy after 120 minutes of energy-sapping drama but with Ross County visiting Pittodrie tomorrow, the Aberdeen boss knows he will have to choose carefully when picking a team to take on the Staggies.
He said: “Mentally they’ll be fine to go again but physically there will be issues. Hopefully Funso Ojo will be back and I thought we missed him in spells on Wednesday.
“Ash Taylor felt his calf again – I don’t think it’s too serious but it might be enough to keep him out. Thankfully we’ve got Mikey Devlin there and we’ve got good cover and decent options in certain areas.
“Hopefully the fans turn out and help the team because Ross County will be rubbing their hands having to travel to Aberdeen after the energy we put into Wednesday.
“There will be tired bodies but it would have been even worse if we’d gone out of the cup.”