Motherwell midfielder Carl McHugh says the away dressing room was “like a morgue” after Saturday’s last-gasp 2-1 defeat to Rangers at Ibrox.
The Steelmen silenced the home crowd by taking a 74th minute lead through Louis Moult but were then sickened as two Kenny Miller goals in the last eight minutes knocked ’Well out of the William Hill Scottish Cup at the fourth round stage.
“I’m just gutted,” McHugh said minutes after the final whistle. “We threw it away. It’s hard to put it into words.
“I’ve lost a play-off final before but this is as bad as I’ve felt after a game.
“It’s like a morgue in the dressing room. The boys are devastated.
“It’s a cup competition. We were desperate to go through, or at least take them back to our place to give ourselves a chance.
“For five minutes after we scored, we kept the ball a bit and it looked as if we were in a good spot. But if you don’t see it through, you get nothing for it.
“We’re out of the cup and that’s the reality of it.
“It’s very, very raw at the moment.”
Former Bradford City and Plymouth Argyle ace McHugh (24) said although Motherwell’s counter attacking game plan – which saw them lead 1-0 after 82 minutes – had worked well, this was no consolation.
“We’ve come away with nothing,” said the Irishman.
“It worked to a point but I don’t like to glorify defeat.
“I don’t like patting ourselves on the back. We should have seen it through.”
McHugh said Motherwell could even have gone two goals up before Rangers scored their first goal.
He added: “Even after they equalised, I had a shot and I should have done better.
“It came back off the ‘keeper. It’s all ifs and buts.
“I don’t know if we played that well, to be honest.
“We could have passed the ball better. We did well to get a goal up. It was a great ball in and a great goal.
“Rangers didn’t have a lot of chances really before the goals. Sammy didn’t have a save to make until we went 1-0 up. It’s happened three times this year where we’ve lost games in the last minute. It’s heartbreaking.”
McHugh said that, although Motherwell had played far from their best during the 90 minutes at Ibrox, they had literally given everything for the cause.
“We might not have played the best but everyone gave it everything,” he said.
“We emptied the tank and we haven’t seen it through.
“That’s hard to take because we were in the position and we’ve thrown it away ourselves.”
McHugh disputed Rangers manager Mark Warburton’s post-match comment that he felt Motherwell were “out on their feet” in the latter stages of the match.
“I don’t know,” he said. When they get the second goal, it knocks the wind out of you.
“We’ve lost the game with mistakes really. The first goal’s a good goal but the second goal is rubbish, really.”
McHugh and his Motherwell team-mates will get a very quick chance for revenge against Rangers as the two sides will square off again in a Scottish Premiership clash at Fir Park this Saturday.
McHugh said: “I think we have to do better to get a result against them.
“We’ve come away with nothing at the end of it.
“We put ourselves in a good position and we should have seen it out. But we’ve come away with nothing so we’ve got to do better next week, whatever way you look at it.”
Motherwell took four points from their last two league games before the winter break and three points against Gers could put them into the top six.