Hibs manager Shaun Maloney applauded his players’ efforts despite the disappointment of losing to rivals Hearts in the Scottish Cup semi-final.
Maloney’s Hibs went 2-0 behind after Ellis Simms and then Stephen Kingsley found the net for Hearts but a quick reply from Chris Cadden kept hopes alive.
Hibs’ task was made harder when Joe Newell was sent off in the second half and they couldn’t find the goal they needed to prevent being knocked out but Maloney took some consolation from the committed and energetic showing from his players.
“I thought my team’s performance was excellent,” he said. “As good as it’s been in the three or four months I have been here.
“I couldn’t be more proud of them and what they gave me, going down to 10 men I thought we were the more dominant team.
“So extremely disappointed for them and the support that maybe the performance didn’t quite match the result.”
The former Scotland international was happy to see the players’ efforts recognised by the supporters.
“What you’ve seen from the support at the end was something I haven’t really seen before in a big derby defeat,” he said. “I have never seen a support give a reception to a team that has lost in a derby like we got at the end.”
Reflecting on the sending off, he said he could “understand” Newell picking up two yellow cards, and the manager also confirmed that he had sent his players out looking for a more robust approach than in last week’s 3-1 derby defeat in the league.
“We had to,” he said. “Last weekend there was a physicality and strength to Hearts that we had to match.
“I asked the players to play on that edge. Hearts dominated physically last week but today that wasn’t the case.”