Last updated on .From the section Scottish
Jordan Kirkpatrick will go down as the man who gave Darvel the biggest and best night in their 134-year existence.
“I just wanted to get it on target,” he told BBC Scotland. “It wasn’t even the best of strikes. It was one of those where you hope it hits the back of the net and it does.”
The 30-year-old admitted it would “take a few days to digest” the enormity of their triumph over Jim Goodwin’s men, but viewers could see ‘Kirky’s’ pride at giving the fans in the little Ayrshire town a beautiful moment of communal joy.
The home supporters, forming the majority of the 3,500 crowd, erupted at the final whistle and there was a flurry of blue and white scarves. Their club, formed in 1889 with its ground sitting just off East Main Street down beside the bowling green, had felled a team 56 places and five tiers above them.
The goal hero’s response to how he would celebrate what is arguably the biggest Scottish Cup shock since the competition began in 1873-74 spoke volumes of the contrast between Darvel and Aberdeen.
“I’m meant to be at work so I need to phone my boss and see if I can get the night off,” said the part-time player.
“I might get a day off tomorrow – a wee sick day, hopefully.”
He knows, and Aberdeen certainly know, he had already put in a shift on Monday night. The same could be said for his team-mates, notably goalkeeper Chris Truesdale, man-of-the-match Craig Truesdale, and skipper Daryll Meggatt.
In fact, you could take your pick from the West of Scotland Premier Division champions and mark them all down for a minimum eight out of 10.
At the end of last season The Vale were denied promotion to the fifth tier, the Lowland League, when they lost to Tranent. They top their league again this season but now have the enviable distraction of a last-16 cup tie at home to Falkirk.
Somehow Darvel’s manager Mick Kennedy managed to control the adrenaline coursing through his veins in the post-match interview. Asked where the club could go now, he replied: “Arthurlie on Saturday, we need the three points.”
The BBC also broadcast Kennedy’s team-talk before kick-off. It was all about belief and this being their moment. It was a theme he continued after the game too.
“It’s remarkable what you achieve when you believe in each other,” he said as his players and club owner John Gall waved to supporters and captured the hullabaloo on their phones.
“I believed in the guys all week. It’s about togetherness and love and respect. We’ve been driving that home all week.
“We probably deserved going in front. We had to show our togetherness. The community has been unbelievable. From the first day I came here I told the board we are going to build something special.”
Truesdale, a school teacher by day, might never make more important saves than the three instinctive stops to deny Ryan Duncan and Luis Lopes from close range in the second half.
He said: “The saves happened so quickly. We knew we were going to come under pressure at the end, and I managed to keep us in it. That’s all I can do. That’s my job as a goalkeeper. The boys put in some effort.
“I think it’ll take a while to sink in. I don’t think we’ll get much sleep tonight. It’s massive for the club and the community. I’m just so privileged to be on this journey.”
The keeper signed off with another reminder of the marvel at Darvel. Just how wild would the celebrations be?
“I’ve got school in the morning.”
Having begun in the preliminary round, Aberdeen were Darvel’s fifth victims, following Haddington Athletic, Tynecastle, Dalbeattie Star and Montrose.
Willie Miller, the former Aberdeen captain and manager, was at Recreation Park to witness the Dons’ nadir. Having complained for weeks at the team’s defensive displays away from home, he instead chose to praise the ambitious ‘Vale’ and fancies them against Falkirk in the next round.
“You wouldn’t bet against Darvel,” he said.