SHAY McCartan fired Burnley into the quarter-finals of the FA Youth Cup for the first time since 1978 with a late winner at West Brom on Wednesday night.
And first team boss Eddie Howe hailed the achievement of Terry Pashley’s side, who took a first half lead through Steven Hewitt’s penalty, only to be pegged back five minutes from time by Aaron Birch.
McCartan, however, stunned The Hawthorns with a last-minute screamer, and Howe beamed: “The youth team were absolutely outstanding, especially in the first half.
“They passed and moved the ball really well and were a pleasure to watch.
“When West Brom equalised you did fear the worst, but they found a second gear and managed to score again just before full time.
“It was terrific and full credit to the players, Terry Pashley and Andy Farrell for their work.”
Hewitt, who has scored in every round so far, earned a professional contract earlier this season, and asked whether the youth team have looked to him as an inspiration, Howe added: “I hope so, from my point of view you want everyone to show they are good enough to play in the first team.
“There’s a really good balance to the side in key positions, they’ve got good partnerships.
“I was very impressed with the lads themselves.
“It’s a talented team with some really good individuals in there, a few lads with a chance of making the grade, so the future bodes well.
“They’ve got some really talented first years (scholars) coming through to complement the second years and I think they’ve got a fantastic attitude.
“They showed that when they came back from the knock of conceding at West Brom.
“The real acid test is, however good they are as a team, how many are going to come through individually and make the grade, and I think even within a good team there are very good individuals who could make the step up, and that’s hopefully the plan.”
Burnley are away again in the last eight at either Fulham or Manchester City, who play their last 16 tie on Wednesday.
Burnley: Cook, Williams, Coleman, Anderson, Conlan; Evans, Hewitt, Love, Howieson (Mullin 69); McCartan, Gilchrist (Daly 77). Subs not used: Jakovlevs, Errington, Nuttall.