Dumbarton manager Stevie Farrell insists he has never been involved in a game of football quite like Saturday’s nine-goal thriller with Annan Athletic in the Scottish Cup.

Sons raced into a 2-0 half time lead thanks to an own goal – that has since been credited to Michael Ruth – and a Ryan Wallace strike, with a string of stunning saves from Greg Fleming preventing the visitors from being in a more comfortable lead.

Annan hit back after the break, however, and were quickly back level with strikes from Kai Nugent and Dominic Docherty before the hour mark.

Aidan Smith was quickest to react to a loose ball on 73 minutes to put the hosts ahead for the first time but Sons grabbed a late leveller when Finlay Gray’s deflected cross looped into the net to force extra-time.

The League One side struck the first blow in the opening period when Smith nodded in his second and Annan’s fourth before a dramatic closing ten minutes.

Michael Ruth slammed home an equaliser on 113 minutes and when James Hilton found himself 20 yards from goal five minutes later, he perhaps should have played the ball wide to Ruth for a one-on-one with the goalkeeper.

‘Jinky’ opted to shoot, however, and it turned out to be an inspired decision as he found the bottom corner to spark jubilant scenes for all those of a Dumbarton persuasion and cap off one of the all-time great Scottish Cup ties.

The result put Dumbarton’s name in the hat for the fourth round draw on Sunday evening – in which they were handed a home tie with Rangers at the Rock on the weekend of January 20.

Dumbarton and Vale of Leven Reporter: Dumbarton will now host giants Rangers in round fourDumbarton will now host giants Rangers in round four (Image: Andy Scott)

Farrell hailed the character shown by his side on Saturday as they found yet another way to win.

Speaking exclusively to the Reporter, he said: “It was one of the best games I’ve ever been involved in and I thought we deserved to win the game.

“We heard them getting a roasting at half-time so we knew there would be a reaction and they made a few changes – a team is always going to have a spell in the game, and they scored important goals in the 15 minutes they were the better team.

“They changed their shape as well and we did think about changing ours to match up but I’m glad that we never because I just felt our shape would hurt them more.

“If we had seen out the second-half for a wee bit longer then I’m not sure it would have turned into the game that it did but you can’t control games of football.

“We showed so many traits with our attacking force and then our resilience to come back.

“We showed many things in the group that’s going to stand us in good stead for the rest of the season and that we can win games in different ways which is really pleasing.”

The Sons boss also joked that Ruth was adamant he should have been credited with the first goal, despite the final touch clearly coming off Annan’s Matty Douglas.

Ruth had glanced on a Wallace free-kick that was kept out by the goalkeeper but then bounced into the net off the unfortune defender.

However, official sources have credited the Sons hitman with the goal to take his tally in the competition to four – though his teammates are refusing to let him have it.

Farrell revealed: "It was an own goal but they have given to Michael Ruth and there is a wee bit of hilarity in this – Michael got the wrong bus times on Saturday so he was late for the bus and fined £100 by the players.

“We made a deal that if he scored two he would get £50 off and if he got three it would be written off so he was shouting that he’s got two but the boys are saying it’s definitely one.

“He’s not got his £50 so there’s a bit of a debate about it!

“If he’s been given it officially then I think that’s it but I’m not sure his teammates will agree.”