DYLAN McGeouch reckons that Hibs' anger over referee Alan Muir's controversial failure to award a penalty for handball in their Premiership play-off semi-final tie against Falkirk will only fire them up for Friday night's second leg.

The match official surprisingly decided there was nothing deliberate about the incident where David McCracken fell on the ball and appeared to manipulate the ball with his hand as Hibs led 2-1, with the error being compounded a mistake from Hibs goalkeeper Conrad Logan, who allowed a late Bob McHugh strike to slither under his body as the tie finished level.

McGeouch, one of the stand-out performers in the game, admits the incident "could have finished the tie" but believes the penalty row will now only provide an additional spur ahead of the trip to Falkirk on Friday night. "We can definitely use it for motivation," said McGeouch. "The penalty decision could have changed the complexion of the tie at 2-1.

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"I didn’t see it at the time but the boys were all shouting for it and, from what they were saying in the dressing room afterwards, it was a clear penalty," he added. "He [McCracken] put his hand on the ball and moved it away. It could have finished the tie but we didn’t get it. But we have to move on and we can’t dwell on it. We need to go again on Friday and get a result.

"I don’t know if it [the result] was an injustice, but we played well throughout the game and did well to get ourselves back on top," he added. "We gave away silly goals but we showed a lot of character to come back into the game. Over the 90 minutes I think we maybe edged it and had good chances. It sets us up for a nice game on Friday, knowing we got ourselves back like that."

Hibs still had life in their legs in what was their 52nd match of a long, hard season and none more so than McGeouch, even if he missed much of March and April through injury." I don’t know if I’d go as far as saying I feel fresh, but obviously I haven’t played a lot of football in the last few months," said McGeouch said. "It’s about getting back into it. It was good to get 90 minutes under my belt.

"That was our 52nd game and there weren’t any signs of tiredness," he added. "Obviously you see the fans and the adrenaline kicks in. It was a great atmosphere and the boys responded. We played really well in the final third and expressed ourselves, which was brilliant. On another night we could have got another few goals."

While the late error from Logan saw the club's lucky charm in their William Hill Scottish Cup semi-final victory against Dundee United fall from grace, McGeouch backed the goalkeeper to bounce back immediately in a second leg which could yet go to penalties.

"Conrad will definitely bounce back," said McGeouch. "He’s been great since he’s come in. Everyone could see what he did in the Scottish Cup semi-final - he got us to the final himself. So we have to pick him up.

"These things happen at the top level of football, the former Celtic player added. "Obviously we’re disappointed because we put a lot into the game and wanted to come away with a win. But we’ll take a lot of confidence from the way we played."

Hibs went to Falkirk and won back in October, albeit with the assistance of another dubious penalty call from the same referee, Jason Cummings converting after John McGinn went down in the box. McGeouch feels Alan Stubbs' side are capable of repeating the feat on Friday night.

"If it ends up in penalties, so be it," he said. "But we’ll be going in on Friday to try and win the game with the squad we’ve got. We believe we’re good enough to go there and win. It’s been close games this year between us and Falkirk. We’ve won one and drawn four, not losing to them. So we’ll go again on Friday to get a result."