Hibs boss Nick Montgomery spoke to the media at Hampden after watching his side edged out by Aberdeen in the Viaplay Cup semi-final. Here's everything he had to say


How do you reflect on today's result and performance?

“Definitely hurting. I thought we controlled the game for large parts. A couple of incidents didn’t go for us today but I can’t not be disappointed on not reaching the final. All credit to Aberdeen; it’s one counter-attack and it’s a moment in the game where we’ve got to be smarter, we’ve got to slow the game down. There’s possibly a foul on Lewis Miller.

“I’m hurting right now but I’m pleased with the performance, I thought we played really well, and I thought we had enough opportunities to win the game quite comfortably but that wasn’t to be.

“I’m really disappointed with some of the decisions and felt they didn’t go our way tonight. It’s hard not to be disappointed when you look back on them.”

Which decisions in particular?

“If it takes five or six minutes to deliberate whether Martin Boyle’s goal is offside then it’s not clear and obvious and in my opinion - I just looked back on it - I don’t see how he’s offside. The lines are virtually touching the defender and him and it doesn’t go in favour of the attacker.

“I don’t know how the penalty incident [Kelle Roos on Dylan Vente] wasn’t looked at on the screen. From where I was, the ‘keeper spilled the ball, Dylan got there before him, he touched the ball and virtually got rugby-tackled in the box.

“For that to be waved away and not even looked at… the rules of the game are you can’t make contact with an opposing player in the box. So that’s two incidents where I felt at least one of them could have gone our way and that would have changed the direction of the game.

“I’m just really disappointed overall because it was a good opportunity for us to get to the final and I thought we played well enough to do that.”

Some of the balls at the end were a bit hopeful…

“We had a lot of quality today, we hurt Aberdeen down the sides a lot. We made a couple of subs, they had ten men behind the ball, so we had to be brave, we had to be smart and keep probing and we did start resorting [to long balls] and the fans get a little bit frustrated because they want the ball in the box and that’s where the boys have to be calm and remain with the game plan and continue to play and we didn’t, in that last ten minutes. We were hitting balls into the box instead of continuing to move the ball and create openings which I thought we did well throughout the game.

“But that’s what happens sometimes. You need to take that ownership on the field; it’s okay shouting on the sidelines but it was disappointing that we didn’t get back in the game. Even at 1-0 I thought we could have got back into the game but it wasn’t to be and we dust ourselves down and move on - we have two big games next week before the next international break.”

Despite tonight’s result are you happy with the team’s trajectory since you came in?

“It’s obviously a blow to be 90 minutes away from a final and play well enough to get there and not but in the seven or eight games I’ve been in charge I think we’ve evolved into a good footballing team but what we have to do now is make sure that we’re a little bit harder to score against, and a little bit more ruthless in the box.

“That’s only going to come with hard work, with training sessions on the training ground, and the boys have bought in completely. They’ve been really receptive to everything and over the seven or eight games we’ve come a long way.

“What we have to do now is turn the draws into wins and when we’re winning games we have to control it and see the game out, and be a little bit more game-smart. That’s something I’ve been talking about to the boys a lot. It’s game-management; you have to manage things within the game and that comes from experience.

“There were a lot of young players. We had three academy players on the bench - Josh Landers, Rudi Molotnikov, and Rory Whittaker, and Josh and Rory came on. That’s the future of the club.

“We also lost a couple of boys this morning in Adam Le Fondre and Jimmy Jeggo, and we still have a couple of big players out injured as well. We have to keep going and hopefully come January we get a few of those players back.

“Right now we have two games before the next international break so we get back on the training ground and keep working hard. That’s how we can get results.”

Barry Robson was critical of the scheduling of the game after a midweek card, suggesting it affected the quality…

“That’s not something that I really want to discuss. I thought we played really well, I’m not going to comment on his team. Barry’s going to have his opinion but I thought we played really well tonight; we lost a couple of players midweek but that’s football when you’re playing two games a week. The squad gets tested but it gives some boys on the fringes a chance to come in and play in the team. That’s why you have a squad.”

With the offside, you felt the lines were level - so advantage surely has to go to the attacker?

“It’s my opinion, I’ve only just seen it back on the iPad. But the line is virtually on him and the defender, and if it takes five or six minutes for that decision to be made, it’s not clear and obvious.

“It’s definitely not gone in the favour of the attacker and if they keep taking goals away in incidents like that, I think it’s taking away from what should really happen.

“I’m not a referee, and the incidents aren’t why we lost the game, but they’re the reason we didn’t have the goal or a penalty.

“Everybody has an opinion but I don’t think anyone would have watched that game and not feel we’ve been hard done by. But it’s done and we have to prepare for the next two games.”

Are you glad those two games are coming in quick succession?

“Yes. We’re disappointed today but we’ll reflect on it on Sunday, take the positives that we can, and try not to get caught up in the incidents that didn’t go our way. You could say it’s a little bit unlucky but it is what it is.

“We can’t change it, people will have their opinion, but we just have to prepare for Wednesday’s game - that’s all we’ve got to focus on.”

How is Martin Boyle after that injury?

“He’s obviously disappointed! I rested him on Tuesday and I had to do that because he’s had a bigger load than anybody; he started two games in the last international break coming off the back of a big injury.

“He’s a fast-twitch player and he just felt a little something. I don’t think it’s serious, it might add to the injury list we’ve already got, but fingers crossed Martin recovers quite well, he’s quite resilient so we’ll see how he is and hopefully he’s back in contention next week.”

What message do you have for the fans who were disappointed at the full-time whistle?

“I’m sure they’ll be disappointed; it’s a semi-final, we played well, but we didn’t go through. The message is that I feel their frustration and their hurt - I’m hurting - but I don’t think you can watch that game and not think we deserved to get something out of it or that we were harshly done by. When I took over we wanted to change the identity of the team and start being a good footballing side. Results are important and I think we’ve been unfortunate in some games to not get the results that we should have and I take responsibility for that.

“We’ll keep working hard on the training ground and hopefully we get some of the injured boys back soon - but I see that as a positive for some of the young boys from the academy to come in and get an opportunity as well.

"I can’t whinge about that; we have to crack on with it. Any fans will be disappointed to lose a game; I’m disappointed, the players are disappointed, but we played well today and didn’t deserve to lose. A couple of incidents went against us which we can’t change. What we can do is get back on the training ground and get ready for St Mirren on Wednesday.”