The former Rangers captain expressed pride in his players for inducing a tricky last 15 minutes after reducing the deficit to 2-1 through a 75th minute header from Conor Sammon - who had been denied by the out-stretched knee of keeper Joe Hart when the scoreline was 1-0 midway through the first period, only for an exquisite Liel Abada strike in added time of the opening 45 to double the advantage gained with Giorgos Giakoumakis’ 14th minute opener.
“I think we had them under the cosh a wee bit [towards the end],” Ferguson said of the endeavours of his team, who have struggled in League One this season. Listen, I had a gameplan to go in and play really deep and try to frustrate them for 70-75 minutes. If we opened up against a team of Celtic’s quality, it could have been five or six, so we obviously respected the quality we were coming up against and the quality of players they’ve got. In the last 15 minutes we opened up a wee bit and started pressing high. We obviously got the goal and in the last 10 minutes I was thinking to myself we might have a chance of extra-time. At the end of the day I’m proud with how the boys worked, I thought their effort was different class.
“I said to them that the way we were playing, if we get the one chance we had to be ruthless and take it.
“When Conor didn’t take it, they hit us with the sucker punch just before half-time, and going in at 2-0 the boys were a bit down in the dressing room. But I had a chat with them and told them to stick with what we spoke about on Thursday night and worked through in training. They did that.
"We changed the way we played, we got the goal back, and I thought we were on the front foot from then. We just needed that wee slice of luck and then you never know what could happen, but Celtic had enough to go through to the next round.”