Ross County showed character to beat Celtic - Jim McIntyre

Ross County manager Jim McIntyre
Ross County manager Jim McIntyre celebrates at the final whistle

Ross County manager Jim McIntyre praised his side's character after they came back from behind to beat 10-man Celtic in the League Cup semi-final at Hampden.

Gary Mackay-Steven gave Celtic the lead after just 26 seconds, but County refused to wilt and will now face Hibernian in the final on 13 March.

"We set up to be stiff and that was anything but stiff, it was a sickener," McIntyre said of the early goal.

"The players showed character."

Martin Woods scored from the penalty spot after Efe Ambrose was sent off for bringing down Alex Schalk.

Paul Quinn headed in a second before Schalk thumped in a third.

Celtic rallied but Leigh Griffiths missed a penalty after Brian Graham was adjudged to have handled the ball in the box.

"We had to hang in and it was a matter of bottle," McIntyre told BBC Scotland. "You saw what Celtic did to Hamilton a few weeks ago after an early goal.

"We had a bit of luck and getting the penalty got us back into it.

"The one thing I knew was we would create chances. We had done it twice against Celtic this season already, albeit we lost both games. When you look at them games we had really good opportunities to score goals and we knew we had to take them today."

Paul Quinn scored Ross County's second goal
Paul Quinn wheels away to celebrate after scoring Ross County's second goal

It is Ross County's second major final after they beat Neil Lennon's Celtic in the 2010 Scottish Cup semi-final, and an emotional McIntyre reserved praise for chairman Roy MacGregor.

"It's a fantastic achievement for the club and I am really pleased for the chairman as he has done so much for the club down the years," continued McIntyre,

"He's had a special day at Hampden once before and we were determined to give him that again."

Centre-back Quinn, who returned to Dingwall during the week after a disappointing spell at Aberdeen, said it was a dream second debut for the Highlanders.

"I couldn't have dreamt of it any better," said the 30-year-old.

"We still have a long way to go to get our hands on the trophy, but it's a fantastic achievement and in the end probably deserved.

"They're (Celtic) a class team. They move the ball so well and they put you under so much pressure, but we had a game plan and we believed in the manager and each other.

"It means a lot to us. I went to Aberdeen knowing this club would still go forward without me and I am delighted to be back."

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