Manager David Moyes claimed the 'spirit of Everton' helped them edge out AEK Athens 1-0 to book their place in the last 32 of the Europa League.
Diniyar Bilyaletdinov's sixth-minute strike secured only a second win in 12 games for the out-of-form Toffees and ensured they will be playing in Europe after Christmas despite still having one group game left to play.
Everton were again without a raft of first-team players with the likes of Phil Neville, Mikel Arteta, Jack Rodwell, Leon Osman and Victor Anichebe all missing through injury.
Speaking after the game which was played on a quagmire of a pitch, Moyes was fulsome in his praise of a makeshift side.
"I was pleased, especially with the outcome of the game," said the Scot.
"Tonight was a case of needs must and I think the spirit of Everton was apparent among both the younger and more experienced players.
"Tony Hibbert, again playing out of position at centre-back, did a great job.
"They all worked so hard to get the result. It shows there is a heartbeat at the football club and hopefully we can kick on from here and improve."
However, Moyes admitted the result came at a cost as defenders Dan Gosling and Sylvain Distin (both hamstring) plus Brazilian striker Jo (knee) all failed to complete the game.
"I don't think Jo's injury is serious," continued Moyes."I am concerned about Distin and Dan as both are both hamstring strains. We will have them assessed tomorrow.
"I think the main reason for the injuries is down to overloading them. Sylvain has had to play just about every minute of every game."