Dunfermline manager Jim Jefferies admitted Aberdeen counterpart Craig Brown apologised after his side snatched a late 1-0 win in the Scottish Communities League Cup despite being outplayed for long spells.
The Pars - relegated from the SPL in the summer - dominated a one-sided first half but failed to capitalise on their superiority. With extra-time seconds away, substitute Scott Vernon bundled home Niall McGinn's cross in from close range to send the Pittodrie club into the quarter-final draw.
"It was a magnificent performance. Craig and Archie (Knox, Aberdeen assistant manager) have come off the bench there and just apologised for the result," Jefferies said.
"They have got to take it, they got the one chance. I said to the players afterwards 'what a massive step forward for us'.
"We have been playing like that since the start of the season and to come up against that opposition and do the same is great. We did not get the rub of the green, a couple hit the woodwork. That was the story all night.
"Credit to Aberdeen, once they rode their luck they came up with the winner but it was harsh on our boys because they were magnificent from start to finish and they could not give me anymore."
Aberdeen manager Brown admits his side were fortunate to escape with a victory.
He said: "The result isn't all that matters but I'd be disappointed and upset if I was Jim Jefferies. That was a far better Dunfermline team than the one relegated last season and any SPL team playing them in the cup would have had great difficulty.
"I'm delighted we managed to squeeze through. There were chances at both ends and we had the best of the first half when Niall McGinn was through on goal and skied it - and then they hit the post.
"Jamie Langfield had a wonderful second-half save so it could have gone either way but I must credit our guys."