Hibs head coach Jack Ross admits that the Scottish Cup final defeat to St Johnstone was a bitter blow, but says it shouldn’t detract from a successful season.
A first-half header from Shaun Rooney decided the final at the national stadium, with St Johnstone completing a remarkable cup double after winning the League Cup earlier this season.
The Perth side showed all their defensive ability to keep Hibs at bay and ensure they lifted silverware, leaving Ross to rue a missed opportunity.
“I’m devastated for my players,” he said. “I’ve spoken often this season about the relationship I have with them and how proud I am of the group and what they’ve delivered this season.
“So I’m really, really disappointed for them. We put a lot into the game and I couldn’t have asked for more in terms of desire to win the cup.
“We could have played more incisively at times but their actual desire to win it was there and they’ve just fallen short.”
The Easter Road boss said that “fine margins” had separated success and failure at Hampden and he felt that his side failed to grasp a big chance in the first half, while St Johnstone seized theirs.
Ross said that his half-time message was for his players to be brave on the ball but also to make sure that they gave every effort they could, and he was content that they had shown that with their performance.
Reflecting on a challenging season, he pointed to the fact that his side had reached the semi-finals of the League Cup, became Scottish Cup runners-up and finished third in the Premiership and said that was something he could be proud of.
“I think it’s been an outstanding season for the club,” he said. “It shouldn’t be forgotten what that group of players has delivered.
“Some of them have come from lower Premiership clubs, some from outside the Premiership and you’ve got an 18-year-old that for large parts of that game was brilliant. You’ve got a group of players that I think have produced their maximum this season. It’s the best league position they’ve been in for a long time and they’ve got to two semi-finals and a cup final.
“The disappointment in not winning them is acute, but the challenge is to come back again.
“I can’t be more proud of that group for what they’ve given me.”