Aberdeen manager Derek McInnes said lifting the Scottish League Cup after a 4-2 penalty shoot-out win over Inverness Caledonian Thistle was his best moment in football.
The Dons boss won the Scottish Cup in 1999 and a league title in 1996/97 as a Rangers player but said he was elated to help Aberdeen end their 19-year trophy drought at Celtic Park on Sunday.
“We have so many good staff at the club, a good board and a brilliant chairman and the supporters have had to endure a lot with very little reward,” McInnes, who only took charge at Pittodrie at the end of last season, said.
“There’s not been a lot of pleasure at times but they’ve been there through thick and thin and I think so many people deserve the right to enjoy today.
“It’s been a long time coming for so many people at the club and we’ve made them that bit longer with extra time and penalties. For me and the players it is brilliant to actually deliver that for them.”
Neither goalkeeper had been really tested in normal time but Aberdeen, who had been favourites before the match, had the best of the chances.
Dons skipper Russell Anderson saw his 24th minute effort come off the post before being cleared off the line and Adam Rooney had a first half penalty claim turned down.
Inverness, making their first appearance in a national cup final since their formation in 1994, had defended resolutely throughout but nearly threw it away three minutes from time when Niall McGinn intercepted Tansey’s slack back-pass but the forward blazed his effort over with only the keeper to beat.
Neither side could conjure up a winner in extra time and it the Aberdeen players who held their nerve as they scored all their spot-kicks to send the 40,000 Aberdeen fans wild.
It was the second time Aberdeen had triumphed on penalties in the competition this season, having defeated Alloa on spot-kicks earlier in the competition.
“I’d always anticipated a tight match. I never thought we were going to lose the game but by the same token I wasn’t sure we were doing enough to win the game,” McInnes, who has led his side to second in the Scottish Premiership and the last four of the Scottish Cup, said
“I said to them that penalty kicks are not a lottery. I reminded them of the game against Alloa in the second round when we took every penalty terrifically and we never missed one.
“We practised them all week and I reminded them of that and just told them to go and be confident and get the job done and bring that cup back with us.
“We said at the start it was all about winning it and you could see in the celebrations at the end what it means to so many people and we are delighted to give them the trophy.
“Now as a group we have tasted that now and I think it’s important we try and get that success again. We’re still in with a chance of the Scottish Cup and hopefully we can get ourselves back again this season to have another day like today.
“It was a special day. The supporters made it special, the players have made it special all season and we are delighted to take the cup back to Aberdeen.”
His Inverness counter-part John Hughes was despondent in defeat.
“I’m disappointed for the boys more than anything else but I’m so proud of them and it could have been our day,” Hughes, who took over from Terry Butcher earlier this year, said.