Aberdeen manager Derek McInnes absolved striker Sam Cosgrove and his team-mates of any blame after the Dons missed all three penalties in the shootout of the Betfred Cup quarter-final at Hearts.
Sam Cosgrove, who scored two spot kicks in the first half, missed his effort in the shootout after the game had finished 2-2 while Niall McGinn and Bruce Anderson also missed as Hearts won 3-0 on spot-kicks at Tynecastle.
The Dons boss is disappointed to be out of the cup but refused to put the blame on his players.
He said: “It’s unusual to take three penalties in a game. Maybe Sam was undecided as I’ve never seen him take a penalty like that but there is no blame on him or anybody else. Sam was magnificent in the first half and led the line brilliantly.
“It’s hard to take, it’s cup football and it doesn’t matter we lost on penalties. We came here looking to get to a semi-final and felt we were good enough.”
Aberdeen were minutes away from booking a semi-final meeting with Rangers until Craig Halkett scored an injury-time equaliser to take the tie to extra-time.
The Dons boss was aggrieved at the events which happened during the build-up to Halkett’s goal but knows his players still should have dealt with the cross from Jake Mulraney for the stoppage-time leveller.
He said: “You are never there until you are there. We should have kept the ball in the corner and I felt Aidan Keena handballed it in the build-up to Mulraney, but that said we had one more ball to win, and as many as we dealt with we didn’t defend that last one.”
The defeat means one chance of silverware has gone but McInnes has backed his players to bounce back.
He said: “We’re one of the teams who don’t shy away from cups. They are there to be won and I feel the squad we have put together is capable of winning a cup.”