New Kilmarnock manager Angelo Alessio says his players proved they had “great character” by coming from behind to beat Connah’s Quay Nomads in Europa League first-round qualifying.
The Rugby Park side went behind with just 15 minutes remaining of the Italian’s first game in charge in Rhyl.
But they secured a 2-1 first leg win over the Welsh side thanks to Stuart Findlay’s stoppage-time winner.
“After their goal, we had a big reaction and won,” Alessio said.
“I watched a lot of games last season and I knew these players had great character. Today they showed this because it wasn’t easy.”
Kilmarnock, back in European football for the first time in 18 years, dominated possession against the Welsh Premier League, Welsh Cup and Scottish Challenge Cup runners-up.
But it looked like Connah’s Quay would secure a surprise win when new Scotland cap Greg Taylor turned a cross from Callum Roberts into his own net.
Kilmarnock responded with an Eamonn Brophy penalty after Roberts felled Chris Burke and Findlay headed the winner in stoppage time.
Alessio said his side were “ready” for the direct, robust style favoured by their hosts, managed by Scotland-born former Manchester City defender Andy Morrison.
“They played their football in long passes,” he said. “We play another football. It was difficult because they had 10 players behind the ball all game, but at the end of the game, we came to win and we did.
“But this is only the first leg. We have to play another next week. We have to prepare well for the game because we didn’t finish it here. I think we can play better.”