Carrick Rangers boss Aaron Callaghan last night had something to smile about after watching his boys book a place in the League Cup semi finals.
Goals from Stephen McCullough and Daniel Kelly at the Loughshore Hotel Arena secured the struggling Rangers a slot in the last four.
The Swifts should have been in front within 90 seconds. Andy Mitchell’s pace on the left embarrassed the Rangers defence and when he whipped in a low cross, Ryan Harpur somehow blasted over the crossbar from six yards.
Rodney McAree’s boys threatened again, but Dougie Wilson’s header from a Paul McElroy corner kick failed to find the target.
The impressive McElroy then sent Mitchell scampering clear and, even though he appeared to be at an awkward angle, it took a great save by Brian Neeson to keep it out.
Incredibly, it was the home team that drew first blood with their first foray forward on 24 minutes.
McCullough was allowed to trick his way through the heart of the only to be stopped in his tracks by Stuart Addis.
But when the ball fell invitingly for Chris Morrow, he delivered a teasing cross for McCullough to head home.
Mitchell was again out luck after the restart when his low shot was again brilliantly beaten away by Neeson.
Swifts were again left to rue their luck when Kris Lowe’s drive was parried away by Neeson and when the ball broke for Mitchell, he walloped his shot over the crossbar.
Rangers secured the path to the last four with eight minutes left. Substitute Chris Lavery delivered a peach of a pass to Kelly, who drilled home.
Carrick Rangers: Neeson, Chapman, Surgenor, Hanley, McNally, Taggart (Rice 87), Wilson, McCaul (Lavery 75), McCullough, Morrow (Murray 74), Kelly. Unused subs: Malcolmson, Knox.
Dungannon Swifts: Addis, Burns, O’Rourke, Armstrong, Hegarty, McElroy, Fitzpatrick (Glackin 70), Wilson, Mitchell, Harpur, Lowe (Clucas 74). Unused subs: Morgan, McDonald, Young.
Referee: Raymond Hetherington.