An “angry” Jack Ross hit out at the way his Hibernian team “meekly” lost 3-0 to St Johnstone in the League Cup semi-final.
Hibs missed good chances, but were suckered by goals from Jason Kerr, Shaun Rooney and Craig Conway.
It was the second painful Hampden defeat in three months following October’s Scottish Cup loss to Hearts.
“You work hard to get here, and we’ve thumbed our nose at the opportunity to get to a final,” Ross said.
With the absence of Rangers, Celtic and Aberdeen in the last four, Hibs were favourites to lift the trophy for the first time since 2007.
But despite dominating the first half they were a goal down at the break, with Ross unhappy at how his side crumbled after conceding again early into the second period.
“I’m angry at the manner in which we played in the final 35 minutes of the game,” the head coach said. “We give up the opportunity to get to a final far too meekly.
“Prior to that, for the first 35 minutes, we were good. We didn’t deserve to be behind at half-time but we were.
“We lost our way badly in the second-half, our reaction to conceding the second goal wasn’t good enough.
“Consequently you give up that opportunity and when you give up that opportunity it’s sore and its painful. Well, certainly it’s hurting me, and I would like to think it’s hurting the players as much.”
Despite his disappointment, Ross defended his players for how they have performed across the season, with his side currently in fourth and chasing a Europa League spot.
“It’s another painful experience for us, but I said after the last semi-final defeat you’ve got two choices: ‘Don’t come back here and don’t go through the pain, or put yourself into positions believing that you will get to that stage [the final]’.”