MOTHERWELL midfielder Carl McHugh doesn’t mind if people were surprised by the wonder strike he produced to win Sunday’s Scottish Cup tie against Hearts, because he was just as shocked as anybody.

The Fir Park skipper scored the goal of his life with just three minutes remaining, taking a Christophe Berra clearance on his chest and volleying into the top corner from 25 yards.

Often when a player who is not renowned for producing such spectacular goals pulls one out of the top drawer, either the player themselves or their manager will try to claim they do it all the time in training, but not the modest Irishman.

“I wish I could say that, but I’m as surprised as anyone that it went in,” McHugh admitted. “I’m just delighted that we got through, that’s the main thing.

“The ball broke and it sat up nice on my chest, so I just thought that I might as well hit it. It was my right foot too, so I don’t know what I was doing really, but thankfully it has gone in.

“I’m delighted for everyone and all the boys. After losing the final, to get back to the semi-final is great for us.

“After the goal I was just at the bottom of a mob, the boys all jumped on top of me and I was squashed, so I was shouting at them to get off of me.

“But it was great, and those are the moments that you play football for. Those moments are few and far between, and you just have to enjoy them when they come along.

“We’re all delighted and it’s a great group of boys in there. I’m so chuffed for them that they get to go back for a semi-final.”

The reason that McHugh attributes his delight at Motherwell earning another trip to Hampden onto his teammates is because he will have to sit out the semi-final against the winner of next Tuesday’s replay between Kilmarnock and Aberdeen.

A booking for a foul on Hearts youngster Harry Cochrane, his second caution of the competition, means that he will be cheering them on from the sidelines, but he has no regrets at not tempering his whole-hearted approach.

“You could go and get injured the day before the semi-final in training or anything, and the way I play, I can’t be thinking about not getting booked." he said.

“I have to go into every game fully committed. I’m just disappointed that I didn’t win the tackle, but that’s football and hopefully I’ll get to play in the final.”

If McHugh does remarkably get to lead Motherwell out in a major final for the second time this season, he admits that there are still some scores both he and his teammates want to settle after their League Cup final defeat to Celtic.

And he reckons that the way that the Steelmen have regrouped after that defeat knocked the stuffing out of them, shows the resilience that exists within their dressing room.

“The final kind of hit us hard,” he said. “We hit a run of bad form after that, and the three games against Celtic really hit us hard too.

“It shows you though the group of lads that we have in there, and the determination we have that we have bounced back since the break, and our form has been good.

“We’ve got the three results in the cup and we’ve had a hard run with three Premiership teams to get this far. It says volumes about what is in that dressing room and I’m so proud of them, they deserve it.

“We’re confident we can take on anyone. When we play like we did in the first half [against Hearts] with that intensity and that work-rate, it can take you a long way in football.

“We then have that bit of quality at the top end of the pitch, and on our day, we are confident against anyone.”