Stephen Glass was thrilled to see his Aberdeen team reward his patience after they mounted a thrilling comeback to clinch a dramatic injury-time victory over Livingston.
Despite six changes to the side that defeated Breidablik in the Europa Conference League in Iceland on Thursday, the Dons were lethargic and fell behind to a first-half strike from Bruce Anderson, who left Pittodrie in the summer.
But Glass stuck with his revamped team and, after Teddy Jenks’ leveller a minute after the break, full-back Jack MacKenzie was the visitors’ hero with a winner four minutes into stoppage time that Livingston keeper Max Stryjek inexplicably allowed to squirm from his grasp and over the line.
Glass said: “Our first-half performance was a bit slow. We allowed them to dictate a bit but off the back of the travel and changes it was understandable. The response in the second half was more important.
“You’ve got that [Thursday’s second leg] in the back of your mind but it was more to do with last Thursday. A couple had knocks but we’re not good enough to be clever. It’s about getting the best out of the players.
“It’s important to be patient with the players who haven’t played. You have to show a level of patience as staff not to make changes at half-time.
“It was important to be tolerant of our levels in the first half but the players got the rewards for their work.
“They’ve worked hard and had no reward of playing time so to score that last-minute winner, I’m delighted for them.”
A large number of the visiting supporters spilled onto the pitch in the aftermath of MacKenzie’s winner but Glass believes it was an understandable reaction.
He added: “You don’t want people to come on the pitch, but I think there’s pent-up frustration and emotion.
“It’s not up to me to steward the fans. All we can do is put something on the pitch and hope they are delighted to see it.
“That’s really all I can say on it. It’s not for me to police and keep people in the stands or have enough stewards around.”
Meanwhile, Livingston manager David Martindale refused to let Stryjek be the fall guy for the defeat, despite insisting his side deserved at least a draw.
He said: “I’m gutted for the boys, gutted for big Max. Obviously he has made a mistake, it was kind of a bog-standard save.
“But as we always say here, it’s not about the me it’s about the we.
“We can’t just make it about the we when we win games, when we lose the game it is the collective too.
“I felt we put more than enough into the game to take something from it. On chances created, I thought we had the better chances.
“If we came away with three points, most would have not said too much about it, and if we came away with a draw most would have said it was a fair reflection.
“But for Aberdeen to get the three points is really, really disappointing.”