The 23 year-old midfielder set up his side’s opening goal in Monday’s (AEDT) 2-1 win at Hampden Park, as the minnows from the Highlands collected their first major silverware in the club’s 87-year history, with Irvine’s joy completed by his individual accolade.
It was the perfect antidote after missing out on Socceroos coach Ange Postecoglou's 23-man squad for this month’s FIFA World Cup qualifiers against Tajikistan and Jordan, with Irvine’s mother, father and sister jetting from their family home in Melbourne to witness the most important match of his life.
“It’s the biggest game of my career so far, no doubt about that,” Irvine said.
“To win a trophy at any level, most players don’t get that opportunity.
“It was great to get individual plaudits – especially with my family (mum Danielle, father Steve and sister Maxi) there to watch it.
“To think we were bottom of the Scottish premiership 12 months ago fighting for our lives … now we are fourth in league and have just win a trophy and have come such a long way in a short space of time. It’s just amazing really.”
Irvine, who has two Australia caps, is happy to wait for his chance to come again – very possibility when the squad is named for the 27 May 27 international against England in Sunderland, and the June double header against Greece in Australia.
“People might say, especially after yesterday, that maybe I could have got a call but international football is a tough hut to crack at any level,” he said.
“In my position you have Mile Jedinak back playing in the Premier league every week and also someone like Mark Milligan who has massive experience and is a top player a well.
“You just have to bide you your time and keep doing your thing. I know that Ange is vigilant with his selections and the way he watches games and keeps track of everybody.
“Hopefully when he feels I am ready, that’s when I will start to be more involved. I have a long way to and to have won two caps at my age is wonderful of me.
“I will hopefully look to be more involved in the next few years knowing that’s it’s your club form that will get you called up.
“Our assistant at Ross County, Billy Dodds didn’t start playing international football for Scotland until he was around 27 or so and went onto win quite a few caps and played in big games.
“There are big players ahead of me and playing international football is privilege, not a right.”
The former Celtic rookie’s contract expires in mid-2017 and interest in him from the English Championship is only likely to intensity if he maintains his current performance levels.
“When you are fortunate to play well individually on a big stage it does your prospects no harm, and if any opportunities to progress do come I am always open to moving forward in my career,” Irvine said.
“This club has been amazing for and with Rangers and Hibs looking like they will be coming back up next year (to the top flight) Scottish football is getting back to where it should be.
“But every player wants to progress and if you get that chance you are going to take it. To be spoken about in general is a good thing. If your name is being mentioned it shows you are doing something right.
“Coming here has been a big step forward for me ... I struggled at my first season on loan at Kilmarnock (from Celtic), and wasn’t playing with any confidence.
“I came here last season and slowly built up from there and have gone from strength to strength and I have the club to thank for that, the manager and the players around me.”
“This club has worked their way up from the Highlands league through the lower divisions and to now win a major trophy is just incredible.”