Caley Thistle captain Gary Warren has called on his side to rediscover its ruthless streak.
The Highlanders’ top six hopes were dented by a 2-0 defeat at Hearts on Tuesday and Warren believes he and his team-mates were masters of their own downfall at Tynecastle.
He said: “It was very frustrating. Tynecastle is tough, but in the game they only maybe had two chances – and we gifted them.
“That’s been the story of our season. We’ve never been carved open – we’ve shot ourselves in the foot.
“We lacked bite and I don’t mean in terms of aggression, I mean more ruthlessness is needed in defence and attack.
“We do play some good football. That’s what we are – a good football side. But we need to be ruthless at both ends. If we don’t score then we need to keep a clean sheet.”
Warren hopes a change of focus to the Scottish Cup this weekend can bring a change of fortune.
The cup holders return to the capital on Sunday to face a Hibernian side in freefall in the Championship following three straight defeats.
But Warren is refusing to pay too much attention to recent results.
He said: “They have a quarter-final against us and a League Cup final the week after so maybe their mind has been on those games.
“They have got some good players and it will be a tough game, but if we play to our best then we’ll come out on top.
“If you look at their finances and the way they play – even if they are in the Championship – and the luxury facilities they have got then they are favourites for this match.
“We’re the holders, but that is down to the hard work we put in last season. This season is totally different again.
“It’s about having belief we can win the one-off game. We’re geared up for a game that can get us into another semi-final.
“We’re Scottish Cup holders and it’s up to us to defend our trophy. We’ll go there full of belief.
“If we are at our best then we can beat anyone.”
For Warren, reaching the final again has added significance as he missed both last year’s final and the League Cup final in 2014 due to suspension.
He said: “I’m always motivated and it would be nice for me if we could get through again.
“Hopefully I can miss out on a booking or two this season. Touch wood I haven’t had one yet so please don’t curse me by mentioning it – I’m due a bit of luck.”