Hibs head coach Alan Stubbs will today begin the process of trying to lift his shattered players for Saturday’s Scottish Cup final against Rangers.
But the former Celtic and Everton defender, who gave the squad the weekend off, insists the enormity of the Hampden showdown should be enough to inspire them this week.
The Easter Road outfit were dealt a crushing blow on Friday when they were condemned to a third straight season in the Championship after losing the play-off semi-final 5-4 on aggregate to Falkirk.
Both the players and the coaching staff were visibly stunned as they trudged up the tunnel at the Falkirk stadium and Stubbs will now attempt to raise his squad’s spirits when they return to training at their East Mains base this morning.
Stubbs said: “They’ve had a chance to get it our of their system in the last couple of days. We’ll see them on Monday and gradually over the week we’ll start to pick them up and get them ready for Saturday. “I’m sure it’s been a tough weekend for them. We’ll pick them up the best we can.
“We’ve got a huge game next week and that will be the inspiration that will keep them going this week.
“The Scottish Cup final, that will keep us going. We want to use Friday, if we possibly can, to turn it into a positive to try and lift them for the cup next week.
“I think Friday is a case of seeing football at it’s cruelest, If I’m being honest.
“We sampled a real low on Friday and we have an opportunity next Saturday to sample a real high. You have to go out there and grab it.
“We have to make sure we’re ready to put ourselves in a position that we can try and win the Scottish Cup.”
Stubbs, meanwhile, admits he will sit down with the club’s hierarchy after the Scottish Cup final to evaluate their season.
With budgets expected to be cut as Hibs prepare for a third campaign in the second tier, doubts have been raised on whether Stubbs and some of the club’s top assets will be around next term.
But the 44-year-old has hinted that he has no intention of walking away from the post.
He said: “After every season, you speak about it at the end of the season and it’s the same.
“We’re disappointed, our main priority was promotion and unfortunately we’ve not got that.
“I’m not saying that (I could leave the club this summer). I’ve got a year left and there’s nothing better but to try and get this club in (the Premiership).
“We’ve put really good foundations down to take the club forward and we feel we’re doing that. We’ve just been dealt a real sucker punch.”