Brora Rangers manager Steven Mackay says the Cattachs will rightly go down in Scottish Cup folklore, but he was left agonising over a missed opportunity to progress further against Stranraer.
Mackay’s side, who memorably knocked Hearts out in the previous round, had led for much of the tie against the League Two Blues through Dale Gillespie’s penalty, however, they conceded a late equaliser when James Hilton found the net direct from a corner.
Extra-time goals from Matt Yates and Thomas Orr in extra-time consigned the Cattachs to defeat in the third round tie.
Coming agonisingly close to pulling off another SPFL scalp made the defeat all the harder for Mackay to take, however, he remains proud of his players’ achievement against the Jambos.
Mackay said: “I am just gutted for the players first and foremost – and the whole club.
“It will never take the edge off what we did against Hearts, but it feels a little bit like it. We put ourselves in an incredible position, and we were two minutes plus stoppage time away from getting into the last-16.
“It’s a sore one to take – and it will take a bit of time before that settles.
“We will always reflect on the Hearts game as an incredible performance, but this was definitely a missed opportunity for us.”
Brora’s side showed one change from the team which defeated Hearts, with Greg Morrison drafted in to replace Millar Gamble.
Stranraer could have opened the scoring within the opening 40 seconds when an Andy Stirling free-kick fell to Darryl Duffy inside the box, but the experienced striker blazed his effort over.
Brora were handed the perfect chance to take the lead on 26 minutes.
Morrison was the architect of the move with a marauding run from the halfway line, before he slipped in Macrae who was brought down by Ayrton Sonkur. Gillespie stepped up and confidently dispatched the spot-kick, despite Fleming going the correct way.
The Blues offered a reminder of their threat just after the half-hour mark, with Duffy blazing a volleyed effort narrowly over after the ball fell to him in the box.
Opportunities were few and far between throughout most of the second half, however, Brora had chances to seal their progression, with Gillespie’s low free-kick tipped behind by Fleming, before Maclean’s header was knocked off the line following a corner.
Brora increasingly had to weather Blues pressure in the latter stages, however, their stubborn resistance was broken by a freak goal two minutes from time. A wind-assisted Hilton corner appeared to deceive Malin, who was under pressure from Orr at his far post, before flying directly into the far corner.
The psychological blow of losing the lead so late on appeared to flatten the tiring Cattachs, and the Blues took the lead 10 minutes into extra-time when Yates sent a crisp finish past Malin, who was unable to keep the powerful effort out.
Malin was once again left with no chance early in the second-half of extra time, with Orr spectacularly thumping high into the net from the edge of the box to seal the Blues’ progression.