Hibs manager Jack Ross admits his players are "hurting" after an extra-time hammer blow at the hands of rivals Hearts in the Scottish Cup semi-final.
The Gorgie side are through to the final of last season's competition after Liam Boyce 's penalty secured a 2-1 win at Hampden.
Hibees striker Christian Doidge had levelled to prompt an extra 30 minutes following a headed opener from Craig Wighton, but the Easter Road outfit suffered extra-time heartbreak.
Robbie Neilson 's side didn't dominate proceedings but they had the grit and determination to ride out bad spells and ultimately win up winners - as Ross lamented the "fine margins" of football that did not go his side's way.
He said: “I think that football matches are won on fine margins and, for us, unfortunately we came out on the wrong side of those fine margins today.
“I can sit here and be critical of the players, of what they did in the game and large elements of the performance, because what they did wasn't perfect. But there were good things about it.
“It's an example of how fine margins can affect the game given how quickly the two penalties are awarded, we miss ours and they score theirs.
“In a nutshell, that's the difference today. In the group right now, they're hurting, it's sore but the reaction and the response will be important."
Easter Road frontman Kevin Nisbet had a glorious chance to put Ross' side into the lead in extra-time from a dubious penalty given by referee Willie Collum.
But the former Dunfermline striker smashed the bar with his spot-kick - and four minutes later Hearts won a questionable penalty of their own which Boyce duly converted.
Nisbet's miss wasn't the only big chance his side had as he, Doidge and Martin Boyle passed up chance after chance - on some occasions through no fault of their own with Hearts' veteran goalkeeper Craig Gordon rolling back the years with a gigantic performance.
Ross knows how much of a blow that will be to his players but he insists it's time for his squad to turn their attentions back to the present season.
He added: “I think it's true not just in football but if you broaden it out to life in general, it's not always fair and there's times when you get knocks or when you get things that hurt and you have two choices in that respect, you either fold or you dust yourself down and go again.
“We work in an industry where the highs and lows are frequent and for us in the group we've got that choice now.
“I’ve been on both sides of it before and when you are on the sore side you don't want to experience that again but you do.
“We've got opportunities in other competitions this season and a league campaign we've started very well so we've got a lot to focus on.
“But we will allow the players 24, 36 hours to come to terms with the disappointment and then we'll go again from there."