Jack Ross laments 'fine margins' and backs Hibs hitman to bounce back

Hibs manager Jack Ross has backed Kevin Nisbet to bounce back from his missed penalty but insisted the semi-final defeat to capital rivals Hearts was down to “fine margins”.

Hibs Manager Jack Ross during a Scottish Cup semi-final match between Hearts and Hibernian at Hampden Park. Photo by Alan Harvey / SNS Group
Hibs Manager Jack Ross during a Scottish Cup semi-final match between Hearts and Hibernian at Hampden Park. Photo by Alan Harvey / SNS Group

“We came out on the wrong side of those fine margins. I can’t sit here and say we didn’t turn up. Elements of our performance were good and we created chances to win the match.

“It doesn’t make it any less sore. What is important now is how we react to it.”

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Hibs fell behind to Craig Wighton’s 60th minute goal but responded positively to equalise just minutes later, when Christian Doidge nodded home.

But the outcome rested on a couple of extra time penalties. Nisbet missed Hibs’, and his misery was compounded when Liam Boyce made no such mistake at the other end, soon after.

But Ross refused to have a go at his young striker.

“First of all he has got the courage to take the penalty and I can’t complain about how he strikes the ball,” said Ross.

“Obviously, there is too much elevation on it but Kevin has had a challenging period personally and he has come through that, he has worked his way through that. That is testament to his character as a young man as well.

“It is my job right now to help him through this. But what he needs to do is find the drive to put himself in that type of position again and make sure he comes out the right side of it. He will be okay. He will be sore right now, but he will be okay and he will be ready to go once the next game comes around.”

The team now return to league duty and a trip to Aberdeen on Friday and Ross wants his players to channel their disappointment in a positive way.

“Right now, the gut-wrenching feeling is there. It happens in football. But it only happens if you put yourself in a position to achieve success.

“You can tread water and never be in these type of positions. But when you get hurt and are sore you have two choices – you can either fold or we can gather ourselves and be motivated to be in these type of positions again and that’s what we want to do.”

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