Superstitious Stuart McCall feared he had jinxed City’s Wembley dream.

McCall was proud as punch as he watched Tuesday’s drama at Villa Park unfold on telly.

But just as he prepared to send Julian Rhodes an early message of congratulations, Aston Villa netted their late second to set up a tense finish.

McCall admitted: “I hate tempting fate but it got to 88 minutes and I was doing this text for Julian. I was just about to press send and then the goal went in – I was kicking myself!

“But what a fantastic performance it was. I don’t even think Villa deserved to win the game because they’d run out of ideas.

“That was down to the organisation of the team by the manager and the players themselves, who followed his instructions down to a tee.

“Once we scored and they threw on all their subs up front, I felt it was quite comfortable.”

McCall, who is determined to make it down to Wembley for next month’s final, was yesterday named Scotland’s No 3 by new national boss Gordon Strachan.

It is a part-time role which he will combine with his Motherwell management duties. But McCall still couldn’t resist the opportunity to hold up City’s cup exploits as the example for Scotland to follow.

He said: “I was telling the press that you’ve only got to look at Bradford City getting to Wembley and how they’ve done it.

“They’ve got past Watford away, Wigan away, Arsenal and Aston Villa – that’s five really tough games but they’ve done it.

“Look at it from Scotland’s perspective and we’re in the same position in (World Cup) qualifying. But Bradford have shown what can be achieved.

“It’s a real honour to be appointed by Gordon. There were a lot of names being bandies about and I never thought for a minute that he would ask me.”