CIARAN Donnelly grabbed a glory goal for Albion Rovers in their William Hill Scottish Cup quarter-final tie against Rangers at Ibrox on Sunday but departed Govan “devastated” following Bilel Mohsni’s late equaliser.
The 27-year-old Donnelly gave the visitors a shock lead in the 13th minute when he volleyed in from close range for his first goal of the season after the Light Blues’ defence had failed to deal with a corner.
The Second Division side, cheered on by 1,100 enthusiastic fans, had to withstand inevitable pressure thereafter but were on course for an historic win until Mohsni levelled in the 77th minute when he knocked the ball and Rovers keeper Neil Parry over the line.
The Cliftonhill club will cash-in on the replay which is provisionally set to take place at New Douglas Park on Tuesday week with the winners facing Dundee United in the semi-final at Ibrox, while Aberdeen take on St Johnstone in the other last-four game.
However, Donnelly, who is Rovers’ longest-serving player having joined in 2005, is struggling to shake off the ‘what if’ feeling from the trip to Ibrox.
“The fans were great, they enjoyed it but the players are devastated to be honest,” he said.
“Not many teams will get the chance to go to Ibrox and get the win and I thought we thoroughly deserved a draw at least.
“So it does feel like a defeat, yes.
“I was absolutely delighted to score, it was just a pity we couldn’t hold on for the win.
“But it is a cracking result for the club.
“Financially and for the fans, you seen what it meant to them.
“As a player, it is right up there, it rates really highly.”
On the evidence of Rangers’ struggle in front of their own supporters, James Ward and his Rovers side have every right to believe they are still in with a chance of making the semi-final.
Donnelly, though, was not for denigrating the talents of Ally McCoist’s team who were relieved to get a second chance.
“Make no bones about it, they are a good side,” he said. “Anyone who says they are not, in my opinion, is talking nonsense.
“I think they are a cracking side who would do really well in the Scottish Premiership.
“But I thought we could have won the first game so we will try to win the replay.”