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Hibernian loss to Ross County unacceptable - Hughes

Hibernian striker Derek Riordan and manager John Hughes
Hughes watches his players troop off after defeat to Ross County

Manager John Hughes believes the "unacceptable" defeat to Ross County in the Scottish Cup shows there is still much work to be at Hibernian.

"Once again, I'm disappointed for the supporters," Hughes told BBC Scotland.

"I would never patronise them, they're watching what I'm watching and it's not acceptable for the size of Hibernian.

"This was a massive game and if that was the performance that I'm looking for to try and take us to Hampden then we've got a lot work in front of us."

County will now contest the semi-final with Celtic at the national stadium and Hughes stressed the size of the Dingwall side's achievement.

"However much it pains me, you have to give credit where it's due so I hope they go on and enjoy their day in the sun at Hampden against Glasgow Celtic," said Hughes.

"Take nothing away from them, they gave everything they had and they got their two goals to go through so I wish them all the best in the semi-final."

Hibs took the lead at Victoria Park through Anthony Stokes' header but close range goals from Garry Wood and Scott Boyd claimed a famous win for the hosts.

Hughes was frustrated by his side's defending in the weekend loss to Hearts and there were echoes of that disappointment following the Easter Road team's latest loss.

"There's no hiding place, we're not playing well at this moment in time," Hughes said.

"I said before the game that if we could keep a clean sheet then we would score goals.

"We got the goal but to concede the two goals that we conceded, you'll never win a football match like that, it's self-inflicted and it's really disappointing.

"I've never seen anyone score a great goal against us, they're all scrappy goals and we could've done better.

You can have all the ball skills in the world and all the talent in the world but if talent doesn't work hard then hard work beats talent

John Hughes

"Hibernian shouldn't be coming up to First Division teams and getting turned over, not in the quarter-final of the Scottish Cup. I'm just wondering if it hurts them enough."

Despite the cup exit, Hibs can still make Europe if they finish in the Scottish Premier League's top four, with the Leith side a point behind fourth-placed Motherwell, who have played a game more.

"We've still got a lot to play for this year," Hughes added

"We're not expressing ourselves enough and I think one or two of them could be doing with a right good look in the mirror and say to themselves, 'I could be doing a little bit more'.

"But that's my job, to get at them and try and get the best out of them.

"They have to go and express themselves and have the confidence to get on it and pass the ball.

"The performance of the last month has not been acceptable. Why? You can have all the ball skills in the world and all the talent in the world but if talent doesn't work hard then hard work beats talent.

"If I get the opportunity to see out my vision then I'll be taking this club into the European spots, challenging the Old Firm and getting to the latter stages of cup competitions and if not, then if I fail, I've failed."

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see also
Ross County 2-1 Hibernian
23 Mar 10 |  Scottish Cups
Hibs defending frustrates Hughes
20 Mar 10 |  Hibernian

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