Marijan Čabraja insists Hibs can still finish third despite 'painful' nature of St Johnstone defeat

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Marijan Čabraja insists Hibs can still finish third this season, despite the ‘painful’ nature of their Friday night defeat by St Johnstone.

Mykola Kukharevych's first goal for the Easter Road side gave the hosts a half-time lead, and Lee Johnson’s side appeared to be in control despite their slender advantage but when Kyle Magennis was dismissed after incurring a second yellow card for catching former Hibs winger Jamie Murphy late in the centre circle with 20 minutes remaining, it was the catalyst for the Perthshire Saints to hit back with headers from Nicky Clark and Stevie May turning the game on its head and consigning Hibs to a third consecutive defeat.

Despite the result Čabraja remains convinced that Hibs can finish best of the rest, although they were leapfrogged by Aberdeen and next weekend's opponents St Mirren, leaving them in fifth and having played one game more than the rest of the top six.

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Stating that the players had to focus on the positives from a disappointing night in front of a capacity crowd in Leith, the Croatian defender added: “It's painful, it's really painful. Losing a game in this fashion is more painful than the last game [6-1 at Celtic]. From this, we can only take the positives because we played really well. This is not a sprint, the league is not a sprint.

"These games happen one time in a hundred, and it happened on Friday

"It's a marathon and I am absolutely confident if we continue to play like this the results will come on longer distance. It's a really good squad and third place, I think we can manage it.”

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