Socceroos star Tim Cahill said his gesture in dedicating his key FA Cup goal against Aston Villa to the victims of the bushfires in his native Australia was just a "little tribute".

The 29-year-old booked Everton's place in the quarter-finals for the first time in seven years when he scored the third goal of his side's 3-1 win at Goodison Park on Sunday. He celebrated his strike by pointing to the black armband he was wearing as a mark of respect to those who have been affected by the bushfires. Over 180 Australians have died as fires swept across the south-east of the country last week.

"I made a point of dedicating my goal to the folks back home in Australia who have lost loved ones," Cahill said. "I went to Japan to play alongside the rest of the Australian lads (in a FIFA World Cup™ qualifier) in midweek, and it was very difficult trying to deal with the disaster in Australia knowing so many families are in mourning.

What I did was just my little tribute to the people who have suffered ... It has hit me and a lot of people very hard,
Everton and Australia midfielder Tim Cahill.

"The team as individuals, the cricketers too and the whole sporting nation, have all been very upset by what has happened. What I did was just my little tribute to the people who have suffered and died. It has hit me and a lot of people very hard. I wanted to show that people do care."

Meanwhile Cahill said he and the other senior players at Goodison Park would do all they could to nurture Everton's promising crop of teenagers. Jack Rodwell, 17, and Dan Gosling, 18, have both been given their chance by Everton manager David Moyes following injuries to more experienced players.

Rodwell scored his first senior goal for Everton against Villa and Cahill said: "The youngsters have been outstanding, they have stepped into the side with so much maturity. The senior players here have been very impressed. And you can be sure we will look after them as their careers progress, that is what this squad is all about.

"I feel very privileged to be playing alongside these players and for this club, we all know what it is to go out and give everything. We will do all we can to help the youngsters, it is the style here to do that. They have been around the squad for a while and the gaffer has bedded them in nicely."

Everton are in the last eight for only the fourth time since they last won the FA Cup in 1995 and Moyes tried to dampen down expectations in the blue half of Merseyside. "Can we win it? Of course we will be trying, but you only have to look at the strength of the sides still left in the tournament to know how hard it will be," said Moyes.

"But I still maintain that the league is more important thing for us, we want to finish in a European position. The two youngsters had to come into the side because of all our problems, but they have shown how good they are. They did very well against an excellent side, Rodwell at times was exceptional and he took his goal really well."