Hibs captain David Gray knows his team-mates have plenty of talent – but has warned there is no substitute for hard work after the Leith outfit crashed to defeat at relegated Alloa.
Despite creating a handful of half chances before and after Michael Duffy’s controversial strike in the 45th minute, Alan Stubbs’ side fell to their fifth loss in seven league outings on Saturday.
With two games in hand, Hibs are now six points behind second place Falkirk in the push for the play-offs ahead of Tuesday’s crunch visit of the Bairns.
The quality within the squad has never been in question in a season that has seen Hibs reach the League Cup final and a Scottish Cup semi-final but right back Gray insists that alone is not enough to win football matches.
Gray said: “You can have all the ability in the world but it doesn’t matter if you don’t perform or don’t turn up on the day.
“Hard work always beats quality at the end of the day and I think we need to get back to basics.
“We need to be working as hard as we can and rectify all the things that went wrong on Saturday come Tuesday night.
“The togetherness in the squad is still there and the character has never really been in question.
“But this is the time when we need to stand up and be counted, every single player.
“We have a few young boys in there as well but they’re in the same position as everyone so we need to stand up and stick the chest out.”
On loan Celtic forward Duffy’s effort just before the break was adjudged to have crossed the line when it came off the underside of the bar and bounced out.
Despite the controversy surrounding the winner, Gray insists Hibs have no excuses.
He added: “I just don’t think we were good enough, we didn’t perform well enough.
“There weren’t enough second balls won, not enough first balls.
“Credit to Alloa. With the greatest respect to them, after being relegated they’ve got nothing to play for anymore but you might not have thought that the way the game went at the end.”
With five matches left in the league, Gray concedes there is now no margin for error if they are to claim second and a play-off semi-final place.
He added: “The one positive is that we’ve got the chance right away to put it right on Tuesday instead of having the week of trying to get yourself over the massive disappointment of Saturday.
“Saturday was a must-win game and we didn’t do it so we now look to Tuesday as a must-win game.
“It’s all about results between now and the end of the season. We’ve still got a great end of the season, we’ve got everything to play for.”