ABERDEEN manager Derek McInnes was relieved rather than furious that his side were taken to a replay by the team currently propping up the third tier of Scottish football.
Stenhousemuir humiliated Roy Aitken’s Dons side by knocking them out of the competition 24 years ago and their current boss feared he might suffer the same fate.
Mark McGuigan’s diving header in 70 minutes cancelled out Max Lowe’s first-half opener and the chance of a major upset suddenly became a very real threat for the Premiership high flyers.
Instead they live to fight another day in Tuesday week’s replay at Ochilview and their manager is happy that he still has the chance to end the Pittodrie club’s 29-year wait for Scottish Cup success.
McInnes said: “I’m more relieved than angry. We had the bulk of possession and the best chances but you just felt we were never doing enough to win the game.
“You have to praise Stenhousemuir – to a man they stuck to their game plan, they got everyone behind the ball in the first half.
“But we got a decent start with the goal and that should hopefully knock their resilience but it didn’t and we looked rusty, we were never sharp with our work.
“However the poorest results are defeats – we’re still in the cup.
“I’ve been in the game long enough to know that when you’re performance isn’t on the money, you’re out.
“I can’t remember ever being involved in a cup shock. I lost as a player at Morton to Danny McGrain’s Arbroath and I still feel the pain from that day.
“So I’ve always provided myself in my teams doing the job professionally. I thought we were professional enough – we just weren’t good enough.”
Greg Stewart played the first game of his second loan spell at Aberdeen and he is expected to sign a lucrative three-year deal with the club when his current contract at Birmingham City expires in the summer.
McInnes also confirmed that he was in talks with former Dons defender Joe Shaughnessy about returning to Pittodrie in the summer.
The defender was released by McInnes in the summer of 2015 but has since been in outstanding form at St Johnstone where he is currently club captain.
Shaughnessy is available under freedom of contract and, despite attempts by his current manager Tommy Wright to keep him at Perth, is expected to sign a three-year deal with Aberdeen.