Falkirk director of football Alex Smith paid tribute to manager Steven Pressley and his young team following the penalty shoot-out win at Dundee United which saw the Bairns continue their Scottish Communities League Cup giant-killing exploits.
The Irn-Bru First Division side, who eliminated last season’s winners Rangers in the previous round, forced spot-kicks through 19-year-old substitute Ally Graham’s 118th-minute goal which saw the contest tied at 2-2 after 120 minutes.
And, after Willo Flood missed his penalty for United, Stewart Murdoch converted for the Bairns to go through to the semi-finals with a 5-4 shoot-out success.
Pressley, a former United defender, was “high as a kite” and asked Smith to speak to the media afterwards. The director of football said: “Nothing surprises us. I’m really pleased for Steven I must say. Steven Pressley has the ability and the temperament to be the manager of a big club. He’s got a big future in front of him.”
But Smith stopped short of stating the Bairns can now win the trophy. He added: “We’re going to Hampden but we have a chance to get to the final. It depends how the draw goes, who gets there, who we get.”
United dominated much of the action but went behind after 70 minutes to Farid El Alagui’s effort against the run of play.
Johnny Russell, who looked lively after coming on as a substitute, equalised three minutes later and Jon Daly drilled in across goal from Russell’s pass after 96 minutes to put the hosts in front.
United goalkeeper Dusan Pernis saved El Alagui’s point-blank effort after 116 minutes but Graham struck two minutes from the end to force a penalty shoot-out.
United boss Peter Houston said: “It’s a huge disappointment. I think we had enough chances to win the game by half-time. We didn’t do it.
“I thought the players showed a lot of character to come back and indeed go 2-1 up.
“From then on in I thought we would go on and score more goals – Russell and Daly had a chance.”