Ryan Porteous feels he has unfinished business as apology issued to fans

A lifelong Hibs fan, Ryan Porteous says he feels he has unfinished business after the Easter Road club came up short in the bid to meet all the targets they set themselves at the start of the season.

Hibs defender Ryan Porteous apologised to the fans after the defeat by St Johnstone.

Having already finished third in the Premiership, setting records and making history in the process, they failed in their attempts to add a Scottish Cup medal to their achievements.

A sore loss against the team who also ended their League Cup hopes in the same stadium, the club now faces a battle to keep the squad together in the hope that they can go at least one better next term.

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Having turned down around £4million in fees for the young defender and Scotland striker Kevin Nisbet in January, Porteous is one of several Easter Road players who have been linked with transfers this summer.

Snatched away

“As I have said before it is a lifelong dream to win a medal with Hibs and for it to be snatched away from you like that then I would always feel like I have some unfinished business if I leave it at that,” said Porteous. “But, every player wants to play at the top level. I just don’t think this is the right time to talk about it. After such a big disappointment I think it would be disrespectful to the fans if we started to talk about players leaving.

“We have achieved so much and come a long way in a short space of time. We have done well in the cup competitions, but I just feel we have let the fans and the gaffer down on occasions.

“You can’t fault the players’ efforts. There are a lot of boys in there who will go on to big things and these opportunities will happen for them, but it is still gut-wrenching.

“It is part and parcel of football but we have to dust ourselves off because we have a big pre-season ahead. There are boys who have big international games coming up and they can’t be too down for too long.

“Some of the boys have been through that heartbreak before. Some of them will go through it again but I am one of the boys who wants to learn from it. Next time I don’t want to be in a situation like this again. Next time I want to take advantage of things.”

Porteous is one of those who is acutely aware of how the punters will be feeling. He joined them in the stands when the good times rolled in 2016, but he had endured many more upsets before then. But while apologising to the fans, he says that the the Hibs players gave their won and said that many were “running in empty tanks” but the time the curtain fell on their cup hopes.

“Getting beat in the two other semis was bad as well, it was devastating but if you would have said we would have got third place at the start of the season we would have taken it – but we know this is a missed opportunity.

“We can only apologise to the fans. We wanted to give them this day after what has been a tough time for everybody but we needed them here today. That would have been a massive lift for us and a massive boost for us. We can only apologise to the fans and to the gaffer. But we dust ourselves off and go again.”

Remember the positives

In the aftermath, manager Jack Ross told the players to remember the positives of a season that remains, arguably, the most successful domestic since the 1970s.

“The manager was talking but to be honest nothing was going in,” admitted Porteous. “I was in my own zone just trying to control my emotions. As I said before I feel like we have let him down a bit. He wouldn't want to hear us say that but he has been great for us this season. I can only thank him for the amount of faith and trust he has had in me. I have had setbacks and I have had my critics but he has stuck by me throughout the full season and I am just gutted that I couldn't pay back that trust today. But he has been probably the most influential person in my career so far.

“It has been really tough and at one point we were nine or ten points behind Aberdeen, who had a game in hand. At that point we would have taken fourth but we are a squad that wants to achieve more.

“We are all gutted just now but we have to remember that it has been a record-breaking season and it would have been the best season ever if we had won the cup but it wasn’t to be. It wasn’t through a lack of effort.

“We had a great group of boys and I am gutted for everybody in there. We had the need-to-win mentality but it just wasn’t to be at the end. The goal you could argue Kane was sitting on the ball for a few seconds and it could have been a foul, but when the ball comes in we have to deal with it.

“It was one of those days but credit where it is due because St Johnstone have been fantastic in cup competitions this season and deserved their win.”

It means that Hibs will have European football next season but will have to battle through more qualifying rounds

“It is something for the fans to look forward to – European football back at Easter Road.

“It was a round we didn’t want to go into but we need to take what we have been given. We need to make a fast start in pre-season to go again.”

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