Hibernian: Alan Stubbs laments "cruellest" of defeats by Falkirk

Hibernian players
Hibernian face a third successive season in the Scottish Championship

Alan Stubbs admits Hibernian face a "tough weekend" of recovery after missing out on promotion.

The Scottish Cup finalists lost their Premiership play-off semi-final to a stoppage-time Bob McHugh goal for Falkirk.

Hibs now face a third year in the Championship and take on Rangers in next weekend's final at Hampden.

"We've just been dealt a real sucker punch," Stubbs told BBC Scotland after the 5-4 aggregate defeat by the Bairns.

And, asked if he would consider his future, the head coach replied: "No, I've got a year left [on my contract]."

"We've put really good foundations down to take the club forward and we feel we're doing that."

McHugh's decisive strike sent Falkirk through to face Premiership second-bottom side Kilmarnock in the two-legged play-off final.

Hibernian head coach Alan Stubbs
Stubbs believes he has put foundations in place to take Hibs forward

Hibs trailed after Blair Alston netted an early opener, but turned the game around before half-time with James Keatings scoring twice, once from the penalty spot.

Luke Leahy levelled with a powerful half-volley, before McHugh's goal sunk Stubbs' team.

The head coach believes the cup final can provide the motivation to lift his players, with the Easter Road club seeking to end a 114-year wait for the trophy.

"When you're in these situations, to have lost the game in that manner, it's obviously a very quiet dressing room right now, as you would expect," said Stubbs, who led Hibs to the League Cup final this term.

"But we need to pick ourselves up for next week, and they've sampled the cruellest way to lose a game. Next week we have a chance to sample the highs and that's what we've got to do.

"It's going to be a tough weekend for them, but come Monday morning we'll pick them up the best we can.

"They'll have a few days to think about it and think what could have been, but we've got a huge game next weekend and that will be the inspiration that'll keep them going.

"We want to use this today if we possibly can to turn it into a positive to try and lift the cup next week."

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