Dundee: MacDonald 52 pen
Stenhousemuir: Higgins 63
Higgins’ second-half equaliser ensured this quarter-final clash went into extra time and penalties as Martyn Corrigan’s Warriors progressed into the last-four of the competition.
Substitute Sean Lynch was the hero for the League One outfit with the winning kick as they triumphed 5-4 on penalties to send the lacklustre Championship side spinning out.
Peter MacDonald had given the hosts an early second-half lead from the penalty spot before Higgins struck in style to level in 63 minutes.
Neither side could force a winner in extra time and the visitors held their nerve from the spot with goalkeeper Chris Smith, David Rowson, Brown Ferguson, Errol Douglas and Lynch all netting after Kevin McBride, Gavin Rae, and Willie Dyer had failed to hit the target for Dundee.
Higgins, who was a favourite among the Dens Park supporters back in 2010, admitted he couldn’t contemplate rubbing their noses in defeat. He said: “There was no way I was going to celebrate. It was a hard decision to leave Dundee and I’ve still got a lot of respect for their fans. I still keep in touch with a lot of the boys and some of fans on the internet. It’s a great result for us and I won’t catch many sweeter than that.”
Dundee dominated the early stages but had to wait until 52 minutes before going ahead after Craig Anderson hauled down McAlister inside the box. MacDonald stepped up and made no mistake from the spot.
Stenny refused to buckle and equalised in 63 minutes when Higgins latched on to a lay-off by Gemmell and powered an unstoppable 20-yard finish high past Kyle Letheren.
Thrilled Stenny manager Corrigan praised his players, saying: “It’s a great result.
“All credit to the lads for keeping calm and getting us through in the shoot-out.”
Dundee assistant boss, Ray Farningham, said: “We had plenty of chances to kill the game in normal time and it came back to haunt us in the end.”