The manager told Sky Sports News: "It's horrible on the sidelines when there's so much at stake. It's a lovely feeling and a situation we wanted to be in. The players have done remarkably well in how they've bounced back [from the defeat to Kilmarnock].
"This [win] feels really good and we've scored two goals. It was a gritty performance and you need that in these games, high-pressure games. The players have stayed firm and shown great character."
The second leg of the final takes place in Sunday.