Falkirk captain David McCracken insists the Bairns deserve credit for not feeling sorry for themselves this season in the wake of their Scottish Cup heartache.
Peter Houston’s side put up a brave fight but were beaten 2-1 by Inverness in last May’s final at Hampden.
But instead of wallowing in self-pity as this campaign got underway, Falkirk produced an outstanding run of form, losing the least amount of games in the division, to finish second in the Championship ahead of Hibs.
The Bairns now await the winners of the promotion play-off quarter-final tie between Raith Rovers and Hibs.
And McCracken insists they have shown great character to bounce back from their cup agony.
He said: “I think just to look at the season, how far we’ve progressed from last year. It would have been very easy to come back after the cup final last year and feel sorry for ourselves and think, ‘we did really well last year’, but we haven’t done that.
“We’ve come in, kicked on. It’s probably fortunate for us that Rangers and Hibs have been in the league in the sense that there’s not been much pressure on us during the season, a lot of focus has been on them.
“That has allowed us to get on with our job and the consistency levels this season have been massive for us as well.
“Grinding out results when we’ve not been playing well and we’ve had some really big performances.
“A lot of the boys have come to the fore, none more so than Blair Alston but I could say that about the majority of the team.”
The veteran defender admits finishing second was not even their initial objective.
Speaking to Falkirk TV, he added: “From the outset we set targets, the playoffs were a target and we did that a number of weeks ago.
“As the season goes on you progress and make new targets and there was an opportunity there to make second – and that’s what we achieved.
“It’s been a really good season in terms of the players and the club, we’ve progressed really well but the hard work starts now.”