The Citizens secured a hard-fought 1-0 win over the Soweto giants to ensure their progress in the competition, with Ayanda Patosi registering his name on the scoresheet for the fifth time this season.
Heading into the Wednesday night’s fixture, there had been a lot riding on the result – not only was a spot in the quarter-finals at stake, but McCarthy was facing his former club where he eventually hung up his boots, and was also eyeing revenge after Bucs’ narrow 1-0 league victory over his side in September last year.
Yet despite the commendable result, McCarthy insists Wednesday’s victory does not rank highest in his personal tally.
“No, this wasn’t my biggest win,” he said. “I think beating [Bidvest] Wits for me will still be my biggest win because it was against a coach that started it all for me, and they are the [defending] league champions, so any time you beat the current league champions, for me that’ll always be the biggest victory.
"And then also along the way, beating the African champions as well, Mamelodi Sundowns.
"So I wouldn’t give Pirates that much credit, saying it was the biggest victory for the club as we’ve beaten equally good teams, not taking anything away from Wits and Sundowns as well.
“It was a magnificent victory for us, and I think we wanted it a little bit more.”
City will lock horns with Pirates once more this season, with their reverse Absa Premiership tie set for Cape Town Stadium on April 28, the penultimate match day of the 2017/18 season.