For the first time in his lengthy tenure as Peterhead manager, Jim McInally is stepping into unfamiliar territory.
Victory over East Kilbride on Saturday gave Peterhead a spot in the last 16 of the competition for the first time since McInally took charge in 2011.
Their prize is a home tie against Premiership side Dundee next month, one they may look at as a chance of an upset given the Dark Blues’ struggles this season.
The Blue Toon were not at their best to see off Lowland League side East Kilbride, needing a penalty shoot-out to progress after drawing 2-2 following extra-time.
But the scale of the achievement, more so for the club rather than him personally, was not lost on McInally.
“I don’t know what the money difference is with getting through but I know it’s decent,” he said. “It helps us massively.
“In my 10 years here I don’t think we’ve got through to the last 16. It’s a good place for the club to be.
“It doesn’t matter to me personally – it matters to the club more. I did feel the pressure a wee bit during the week because I had the general manager telling me we needed the money!
“It means a lot for the players because you never know what draw you could have got.
“It’s good to go through. That’s two Saturdays on the trot where opponents have come here and sat in against us.
“When you’ve got a lot of young players and you get a lot of shouts of ‘get the ball forward’ (from the crowd), the temptation is they can do that and play into the other team’s hands. We kept moving the ball from side to side, we tired them out a wee bit.”
McInally had words of praise for several of his players, including Ryan Duncan, Simon Ferry and Andy McCarthy, with the latter finding the net with a superb volley at the end of the first half.
Ferry played 120 minutes at centre-half and Duncan was often Peterhead’s biggest attacking threat coming in off the right flank.
“I’d like to mention Ryan Duncan,” said McInally. “He only turned 18 three or four days ago but that boy’s a talent. Aberdeen is lucky they’ve got that coming through because he’s a fantastic player.
“Andy epitomises everything I love about midfield players. He had a fantastic start to his career at Partick Thistle, when they were in the top six in the Premiership.
“He had bad times – I think he thought he’d made it too early and he wasn’t living properly. He’s went through some dark times and been big enough to come out and speak about it.
“For two years now he’s been fantastic. He’s got himself super-fit, he’s talented and he hadn’t scored until his first goal this season.
“I’m chuffed for him because he’s a terrific boy but also potentially a really good player.”
Peterhead went behind after 11 minutes, as Joao Victoria capitalised on a defensive mistake to slot past Brett Long.
The home side turned the game around with two goals before the break, as Russell McLean converted from Duncan’s cut-back and McCarthy lashed in a wonderful volley.
Victoria found the net again in the second half but there was no separating the sides until the shoot-out, with James Finlay the unlucky Kilby player to miss as the Blue Toon ran out 5-3 winners.
“They (East Kilbride) were really well organised but I think some of our chances at the end were clear-cut,” added McInally. “You do think the worst, that if it goes to penalties there’s no way we’re going to win it.
“They deserved to go through. There was a lot of people said this was going to be a shock and I can understand why, because they’ve got some experienced players. But they’ve lost some as well.