DEJECTED Derek McInnes watched Kilmarnock topple out of the Scottish Cup as they lost 2-1 to Inverness Caley Thistle in the Highlands last night.
But the Rugby Park boss sportingly applauded Billy Dodds’ team and admitted “the better team won”.
The Caley Jags were the first to book a place in Monday night’s semi-final draw where they will be joined by Celtic who claimed their place in the ballot with a 3-0 triumph over Hearts at Tynecastle this afternoon with Aaron Mooy, Kyogo Furuhashi and Cameron Carter-Vickers on the scoresheet.
The chance of a place in the last four for Killie was blown and McInnes said: “I thought we were second best. Inverness wanted it more than us and that is always a sad indictment of a team.
“It is never easy for a manager to accept that and say it, but the truth was Inverness were, hands-down, more energetic than us and had more desire about them.
“What we have found is when we have lost the first goal on the road we have lost confidence, but that shouldn’t have been the case on this occasion.
“The penalty was harsh on us and I thought we could have had one ourselves, but the better team won. The team who deserved it won.”
The visitors, with just two wins since August, had got off to a perfect start when Kyle Vassell gave them a third-minute lead, bundling the ball into the net following a corner, but Billy McKay replied from the penalty spot 20 minutes later.
Joe Wright was adjudged to have handled Wallace Duffy’s low cross and the home side took full advantage of the award.
Sean Welsh then netted from 25 yards early in the second-half to send their Premiership opponents spinning out of the competition.
Rangers take on Raith Rovers at Ibrox tomorrow at 1pm while Falkirk face Ayr United in their tie on Monday night after which the last-four draw will take place.