Crusaders 'proud' of humbling Dundee United to reach semi-finals of Scottish Challenge Cup
Dundee United 1 Crusaders 2
Saturday was a long day for the Crusaders party who made their way to Scotland, but it was one they will remember with a healthy dose of pride.
The challenge of beating Dundee United in the quarter-finals of the IRN-BRU Cup was a daunting one but the early risers rose to the occasion and stunned their Scottish hosts with a 2-1 victory.
Winger Gavin Whyte delivered the late decisive blow after David Cushley's close-range header had cancelled out Fraser Fyvie's second half opener.
Csaba Laszlo's first game in charge didn't go according to plan but the Crues will care little about that as they look forward to facing either The New Saints, Dumbarton or Inverness in the semi-finals in February.
It was a youthful United side that wrestled with the Crues but the Shore Road men ensured it was a day trip to remember.
Boss Stephen Baxter said: "I'm very pleased with the result and performance, even more so when you factor in the very early start with the boys up early in the morning to travel over.
"For ourselves and the league we represent, to record a result like this is very rewarding and the players put in a fantastic performance.
"We had other opportunities to score and I felt we fully warranted the win. For the first goal David was left unmarked to score so it was a soft one for them to concede and Gavin came up with a nice finish, but Brian Jensen also made a stunning save at 1-1 which allowed us to go on and get the winner.
"When you come to a ground like this and best a club with a proud full-time tradition in Scotland you've got to be delighted. Dundee United have played at the top level in Scotland and we can be proud of our showing."
Crusaders face Linfield at Seaview in the League Cup on Wednesday and they certainly go into that clash in better spirits than David Healy's men who lost to Ballymena United on Friday night.
"We have a lot of midweek games coming up starting with Linfield this week in the League Cup and that will test the squad," added Baxter.
"The good thing is confidence is high and we are in good form. It's an opportunity for all the players to play their part.
"It's fantastic to be in the semi-finals of this competition but we have a lot of football before it comes around in February. We have domestic business to attend to but it is a great chance to make a semi-final of a major competition."
The draw for the semi-finals will be made at the SEC Armadillo in Glasgow on Tuesday at 1pm.
Dundee United: Deniz, Quinn, McMullan, N'Koyi, Edjenguele, Allardice (King, 46 mins), Keatings (Smith, 89 mins), Fyvie, Taylor, Ritchie, Hornby.
Crusaders: Jensen, McChrystal, Beverland, Ward, Brown, McClean, Caddell (Burns, 87 mins), Forsythe, Snoddy (Whyte, 61 mins), Glackin (Owens, 80 mins), Cushley.
Man of the match: Declan Caddell
Match rating: 7/10
Referee: Robert Hennessy.