Sam Ricketts: Shrewsbury have created a special memory after Bristol City win in the FA Cup
Sam Ricketts says his Shrewsbury Town players are living the dream after booking an FA Cup date with European and world champions Liverpool.
Aaron Pierre was the blue and amber hero as he thumped an 89th-minute winner in from 25 yards beyond helpless Bristol City goalkeeper Daniel Bentley to settle the third round replay and pocket Town close to £300,000 in prize money and broadcast fees.
And it's Jurgen Klopp's Premier League leaders Liverpool next in the competition on Sunday, January 26 for Ricketts' men.
Ricketts, a boyhood Liverpool fan, said of the historic night: "I'm delighted for everyone connected. I thought the players were excellent over the two games.
"We could and should have won away from home. Tonight was blood and thunder, everything you want, chances at both ends and a cracker to win it in the 89th minute.
"It's a real shot of belief for us. We're a really young group in terms of being together. A handful have been here as long as I've been here.
"This is a shot in the arm - listen lads 'we're on the right path here'.
"It's not a smooth path, but we're on the right lads. We're on the right lines, everyone stick together and understand what we are as a team.
"It'll be a great occasion for the club in general. For the players' belief and it's another step on that ladder for me.
"It's why everyone's involved in football. We all dreamed of playing in the FA Cup.
"I was fortunate to play in it and now I'm on this side. It creates special memories for fans and players."
Match-winner Pierre had already gone close in the first period with a rasping strike from distance but he made no mistake in the dying moments when it appeared extra time was on the horizon.
"I wasn't expecting (the shot) to be as clean as it was - I don't know, I'm just happy it went in," Pierre said.
"It was an unbelievable feeling, I didn't even know what to do. I just went for the gaffer and the bench and went crazy.
"It was a very, very good game, well-drilled. In the first game we played very well and just continued from that.
"After the game the fans came on the bench and we were just jumping and celebrating."There's a great bond with us players and the fans. It was a crazy moment."
Pierre noted of Shrewsbury's Merseyside contingent Shaun Whalley and Callum Lang: "Those guys hugged me the most!
"Shaun especially, he was holding me a lot. It's a great moment against a very, very big team."
Town chief executive Brian Caldwell added: "It'll be fantastic for the town and football club to have the world and European champions coming.
"Hopefully we might break even this year! Financially it's a real boost with live TV and prize money."