It may just be the first time in Kai Kennedy’s young life that he found himself rooting against Rangers.

But, no matter the jersey on your back, the young winger is well aware opportunities to play at Hampden cannot be taken for granted. Drawing Falkirk in the Scottish Cup last four would have stacked the odds in favour of Kennedy’s parent club taking their defence of the trophy to the final hurdle.

It would also have consigned the 20-year-old to a lonely watching berth.

And that, after his heroics in firing the Bairns to the national stadium next month, would have been incredibly cruel. Kennedy has been a Rangers player for most of his life, but admits relief swept over him when it was Inverness who emerged from the hat.

“I was watching the draw and I thought we had got Rangers and I thought ‘oh no’. I thought it meant that on my first game at Hampden I wouldn’t be able to play in the game.

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“So when I realised it was Inverness I was buzzing about it. It’s an amazing moment for the club and I was delighted to be part of it.

“We have beaten Ayr and Inverness will be tough but anything can happen at Hampden. I didn’t want Rangers. I was thinking if I couldn’t play at Hampden after getting this far.

“I am still young and to get to Hampden at this stage of my career is great and I can’t wait to get there.”

The Falkirk Stadium had already been worked into a frenzy when Kennedy picked up the ball up 30 yards from goal – Callumn Morrison’s equaliser followed by Ayr’s Chris Maguire crashing a penalty off the upright saw to that.

But despite the noise all around him, there was only one voice in Kennedy’s head: his old man’s.

“I just got the ball and I just seen the space and I had a quick look before I got it and I went for it,” he recalled. “My dad keeps telling me I don’t hit enough shots and I had the time.

“He keeps saying to me that I am doing well but I don’t hit it and I try to pass it. I thought I was too far out but I believe in my ability so I thought I should just hit it and see.

“When it hit the net it was probably one of the best feelings I have had in a long time. It is all about goals and assists for a winger and this is the most goals and assists I have had at a club.

“I have been working hard on and off the park and I am trying to get my body back to where was. Everyone knows the ability I had a few years ago and I am trying to get back to my real self.

“I am enjoying my football here but I was gutted not to start the game. When I came on I had to make an impact and thankfully I did.”

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Full-time celebrations stretched far beyond the full-time whistle, perhaps reflective of the fact that this is a fanbase who have gone too long without having something to shout about. The League One title may just be beyond them after last week’s defeat to leaders Dunfermline, but a play-off place seems all-but secured, and this Scottish Cup adventure is further fostering the return of the feel-good factor. And given what transpired against an Ayr side with Premiership promotion ambitions this term, confidence is understandably soaring that John McGlynn and his players can achieve something truly special at Hampden.

“We will back ourselves, especially after beating Ayr,” Kennedy declared. “I watched the Inverness game on Friday when they beat Kilmarnock. I have played against them plenty of times and I was obviously on loan to them as well so I am looking forward to it.

“It will be hard and we know that but Hampden is special and it would be incredible to get to the final. It is a huge carrot for us as players and if we can beat Inverness we are in the final.

“The changing room was buzzing after the draw. It will be great to be there but we have to wait for the game to come and we have to keep plugging away at the league.

“There is a long way to go in the league and we have to take it one game at a time. It will be difficult with the semi-final there and we will have it in the back of our minds.

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“I don’t know how many of the boys have been at Hampden before. I am delighted for the gaffer and his staff as we wouldn’t be here without them.

“I love the gaffer. I worked with him before and that’s one of the reasons I came here. He is so professional and he is amazing to work with.

“I don’t know too much about the financial things but for the club it is massive with the money you get for making Hampden. It will be a weight off his shoulders and I think he slept well on Monday night.”