PROUD Graeme Murty reckons his players gave “absolutely everything” as their long SPFL Challenge Cup journey was ended by Championship Inverness at the Caledonian Stadium tonight.
Taking the lead through Dapo Mebude, Gers were pegged-back to lose 2-1, but they more-than competed against a team who have real ambitions of being promoted to the Scottish Premiership this season.
“I can ask for a win,” said Murty, “but that would be churlish of me as I thought the guys were magnificent and I am incredibly proud of them.
“I thought they gave absolutely everything in horrific conditions on a very difficult pitch against a team that is sitting second in the Championship and have just knocked Livingston out of the Scottish Cup.
“I thought we came and put on a performance that everyone can be proud of – alright, we have fallen slightly short and we know the reasons why and the players know the reasons why and they are gutted but the way they conducted themselves, handled the ball and handled everything that was thrown at them today – I thought they were tremendous and they deserve loads of credit.
“I would say too, the people who braved the conditions and came up to support them in those numbers deserve a lot of credit as well as that wasn’t easy.
“But I feel the lads put on a performance there that they can be proud of and they can see the work that we are doing further down that allows us to put a team of that talent and that ability on the pitch.”
Asked what his overriding emotion was at the end of a journey which has seen Gers come through five rounds against senior sides to reach the semi-finals, he added: “I am really frustrated. We have said to the guys all season it is going to come down to small margins.
“Can we score when we have a good opportunity? Can we make sure that we keep our opponents out?
“We know they are going to create problems for us and we highlighted set-pieces and low and behold, we go and lose a goal from a set-piece because someone switches off and doesn’t mark their man.
“Then we get into the final third, we get numerous entries into the penalty box and we don’t take our chances.
“We work all year on creation and taking chances, and it has to resonate with the guys. It has to a certain extent, but those are the games there that are lost and won by so small margins that they need to then see that they need to change something.
“I can’t be too down though. I thought from the first minute they dealt with what was thrown at them in a really, really mature way and considering we have an average age of 18.2, against a team of that experience and that many appearances, I thought we were great and I am gutted for them, really.”