The Northern Ireland defender was drafted in to play right back as Rangers knocked Falkirk out of the Ramsdens Cup with a 1-0 victory thanks to Andy Little’s goal.
And it was a dream come true for Hegarty who said: “It was one of the proudest moments of my life and hopefully there will be many more to come.
“I only found out just after the pre-match meal that I was playing so it was only about two and a half hours before kick-off.
“I had no clue that I was starting before that so that was probably a good thing as I didn’t really have time to feel nervous.
“It was brilliant to get through and also to keep a clean sheet.
“I was great to play with guys like Boca. He talks you through the game. He is always on your case and you need that.
“Big Emilson came in too and he is a solid player. You can tell he is an experienced player.
“I’m hoping the manager saw a few good things in my play and that I can fill a space if he needs me.
“It was another great goal from Andy that won the game for us and I’m really pleased for him. I hope he scores plenty for us this season.”