Hibernian head coach Jack Ross said his side’s celebrations after their 1-0 win over Aberdeen were fully deserved after they sealed third place in the Premiership.
Christian Doidge’s goal settled the match at Pittodrie and saw Hibernian ensure they can’t be caught in the league and finish ‘best of the rest’ behind champions Rangers and runners-up Celtic.
Ross revealed that the squad had set themselves that target before a ball was kicked and, with the Scottish Cup final still to look forward to, they could call the season a success.
“It’s been the driver from day one and it was a realistic ambition but also a big one,” Ross said. “It’s been 15 years since we finished in that position.
“We asked the group to be honest and they felt they could finish third. I thought that was a big target but achievable and they’ve shown brilliant resilience and character to do that.
“It’s been a brilliant season and it’ll be outstanding if they can win the cup final as well.”
Ross said he would now rest players this weekend ahead of the big occasion at Hampden.
“It’s a bonus that we’ve secured third and Saturday has no significance on league position so we will use the squad and everything now is about being successful on May 22,” he said. “It’ll be good reward for some of the players who haven’t played many minutes lately.”
Aberdeen manager Stephen Glass was disappointed to see his side lose but is still learning about his players ahead of a fresh challenge next season.
“Any time you lose is frustrating, but the manner of the performance shows there’s something valuable to build on,” Glass said. “You saw a team that moved the ball quick and was very dangerous. They were the better team in my opinion.
“We lost so that’s frustrating but in terms of performance level the players were excellent.
“Hibs had that one real opportunity and they took it. It’s disappointing from our point of view, but we made opportunities we should have done better with and the performance level was brilliant.
“This period coming in since the start of April has given us the opportunity to see what we’d like to change. It’s a constant evaluation and it’ll be the same next summer. That’s been hugely valuable to us.”
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