Hibernian: Players 'turned a corner' with Kilmarnock win - Paul Heckingbottom
Embattled Hibernian have "turned a corner" after booking a Scottish League Cup semi-final date with holders Celtic, says boss Paul Heckingbottom.
Hibs overcame Ryan Porteous' red card to pip Kilmarnock on penalties after their quarter-final finished goalless.
The Rugby Park triumph is their first win in four matches and eases pressure on Heckingbottom, whose side are 11th in the Scottish Premiership.
"They've turned a corner," the head coach told BBC Scotland.
"We went the long way round, but I think it was deserved. I'm delighted we can send the fans home happy because they're in it with us. It's what they deserve as well.
"We were strong, resilient, and we knew we had to be, because Kilmarnock don't give very much away."
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Ill feeling towards Heckingbottom has been building among Hibs fans as he presided over a dismal start to the campaign.
Hibs are winless since the opening day and surrendered a 1-0 lead to lose Sunday's Edinburgh derby to Hearts.
They will attempt to derail Celtic's bid to win the tournament for the fourth year running and inflict their first domestic cup loss in 30 ties when the teams meet at Hampden in early November.
Before that, Hibs host the champions on Sunday before travelling to Aberdeen on 5 October.
"I just hope it lets the players understand what we're talking about when we're talking about hard work, not giving anything away, being resilient and tough, that they can see that and get rewards from that," Heckingbottom added.
"At the start of the season it was that, then there was a three-game stretch when we were weak. Then the last couple of games we've been punished.
"I'm looking forward to [the semi-final] but that's further down the line. We've got two huge game against teams who finished above us last year so we know it's going to be at tough test."