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Page last updated at 17:17 GMT, Saturday, 30 May 2009 18:17 UK

Hughes proud of beaten finalists

Falkirk boss John Hughes looks on from the Hampden touchline
Hughes saw his side dominate possession during the first half

Manager John Hughes hailed his beaten Falkirk side after a Nacho Novo goal won the Scottish Cup for Rangers.

"All credit to them, they gave it a go. I think you know that with the fans staying behind," he told BBC Scotland. "I'm so proud of them, I really am."

"My game plan was to keep the ball, ball-retention, taking our time.

"Knowing Rangers would come out of the traps, I said at half-time, 'Make sure we keep it tight for 20 minutes'. And one minute into the second half, bang."

Novo appeared as a substitute at the interval and smashed in a terrific long range strike to condemn Falkirk to defeat at a sun-drenched Hampden.

The Bairns were the brighter team in the opening 45 minutes, with Neil McCann twice going close, while Steve Lovell hit the post during Falkirk's late bid to salvage the tie.

"The performance was good," added Hughes, who suggested he is considering his future at the club in his pre-match interview. "I asked the players to be big and brave and hold on to the ball.

"We could have got at them quicker and Rangers had time to get men behind the ball but I thought we had the better chances in the first half.

"To lose a goal right at the start of the second half was disappointing but, even in the second half, I think you saw the character and courage of my players.

"They were still trying hard, still getting on the ball, still trying to do it right and it was only in the last 15 minutes when we threw on all the strikers that we started loading it up.

"We might have got something that way, which may have been a bit fortunate.

"The conditions were difficult with the heat but every one of my players was outstanding."

Hughes, who has a year of his Falkirk contract to run, came in for flak from fans this season as the Bairns battled against relegation.

Their top flight status was secured with a dramatic win at Inverness on the final day of the Scottish Premier League campaign.

"For me to take this club forward, I need the resources," Hughes said before the final. "The board have backed me to the hilt ever since I came in the door.

"But to get to the next level I need more resources and I don't know if that will be the case."

Hughes, who has been linked with Aberdeen and Hibernian, added: "It has been the best season in the club's history. Can we top it? We can go one better, we can probably get in the top six and it would be a real achievement. Who knows, in the next couple of years, hopefully go and try and win a cup."

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see also
Rangers 1-0 Falkirk
30 May 09 |  Scottish Cups
Smith hails Novo's winning strike
30 May 09 |  Rangers
Scottish Cup photo gallery
30 May 09 |  Scottish Cups
Scottish Cup final as it happened
30 May 09 |  Scottish Cups

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