Scottish Cup final: Hibs progress despite defeat - Pat Fenlon

Hibernian players

Pat Fenlon believes his Hibernian side have made progress, despite a second successive Scottish Cup final defeat.

Hibs followed last season's 5-1 hammering by Hearts with

"We've finished seventh in the league, which is a good few places higher than we were," Fenlon told BBC Scotland.

"We've picked up 19 points more and we are in Europe. I can't ask any more of my players. We've contributed to a decent enough game."

Fenlon pointed out that Eoin Doyle had a header well saved by Celtic goalkeeper Fraser Forster before Gary Hooper gave the Glasgow side an early lead. A second from Hooper was followed by Celtic's third from Joe Ledley.

"We came up against a really good side," said the Hibs manager. "We had the best chance early on with Eoin's header.

"I think if that goes in it becomes a different game, because there's a pressure on Celtic to win football matches, but I can't fault the players today for effort and everything else.

"Everybody expects Celtic to win matches in Scotland. If you score first against them, they become edgy and the crowd becomes edgy, but it wasn't to be."

Fenlon was disappointed that a bright start by his side had been cut short by Hooper peeling away from defenders to meet Anthony Stokes crosses to the back post for the opening two goals.

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Interview - Hibernian manager Pat Fenlon

"Celtic caused us problems with their movement," he admitted.

"We contributed to the game, but that little bit of quality, a lot of quality in fact, Celtic have has won the game for them."

Fenlon, though, was full of praise for his players and the Edinburgh club's supporters.

"I said to the players, 'you can be proud of your performances - you have nothing to be ashamed of'," he revealed.

"The fans were magnificent, but they've been like that all season. They stayed right to the bitter end. They are a credit to their club."

Top scorer Leigh Griffiths could have been playing his last game for the club, with the striker's loan spell coming to an end and his future uncertain with parent club Wolves having been relegated to League One.

"We'd love to keep him," added Fenlon. "He's a Wolves player and we have to respect that.

"I've said before, we'll do our best to keep him, but probably, at the end of the day, the decision will come down to Wolves."

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