Paul Heckingbottom: Hibs coach says next league match 'a cup final'

Hibs players trudge of the Hampden pitch
Hibs have not won a game in 90 minutes since 3 August

Hibernian face their own cup final next week against St Johnstone, says head coach Paul Heckingbottom, after his side failed to reach the Scottish League Cup showpiece.

Hibs lost 5-2 to Celtic in Saturday's first semi-final at Hampden, and have not won in 90 minutes since August 3.

Sitting just a point off the bottom of the Premiership, they travel to McDiarmid Park on Saturday.

"It's the league where we're judged," Heckingbottom said.

"I've got to park that, get rid of it. Because we're playing a cup final next week. We all know things could have been so much better in the league, but it's not so we have to put that right."

Despite the winless run in regulation time, the loss against Celtic was the Edinburgh side's first defeat in seven matches.

They were 2-0 down with only a quarter of the last-four tie played at Hampden, but cut the deficit to 4-2 in a brief second-half resurgence.

Heckingbottom has been under increasing pressure from fans as a result of the slow start, and he was asked post-match if he thought the performance would appease the unrest.

"That's for them to say," he responded. "It wasn't a performance good enough to win the game and get to a cup final, I said before that was my focus.

"You can't expect to get anything when you go two down to Celtic that early on. That's where the game was lost for me.

"Whether that was the occasion - Hampden for a semi-final - or the pressure Celtic put on us because of how quick they were making us play. That's where it was lost, that first part of the game."

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