JOHN Robertson refused to blame the officials for his Inverness Caledonian Thistle team being denied an equaliser which would have changed their Scottish Cup semi-final with Hearts.

The assistant flagged Jamie McCart, who was in an offside decision, moments before the defender put the ball past Hearts goalkeeper Zdenek Zlamal – but the ball had come off Jake Mulraney, the Hearts player, which played him on.

That came minutes after Zlamal had sensationally saved Joe Chalmers’s free-kick on a day when the Highlanders from the Championship could have done with some luck going their way.

Robertson said: “All that let us down was missing that rub of the green - were it not for the wonder save or the offside goal, which isn’t offside, it could’ve been a completely different game.

“But Lady Luck deserted us a little bit.

“It’s a difficult one because there’s two players going for it. Can you hold the officials culpable for it? Not really. It’s a marginal thing. But you are hoping that one of them spots it. The position of the ref and linesman was good.

“Behind the goal would be the one that spots it. We’ve argued about what do they actually do behind the goals? That’s the little bit of luck. It could’ve made a big different but it didn’t go our way and Hearts go through.

“I’m incredibly proud of my players, my fans and my club.

“The first 45 we did the job we needed to do, which was to keep Hearts quiet and quieten the crowd. We did that. They were booed off at half-time, which was exactly the reaction we were looking for.

“We said to them at half-time the next 15 minutes were massive for us. If we could keep the crowd quiet and get to an hour level then there would be an opportunity because that’s when Hearts would start to get edgy.

“They got their goal from a set-play, which is difficult to take. It’s a wee ricochet and they score.

“But then we produced our best spell of the match. We were terrific for the next 10-15 minutes.

“Chalmers free-kick is incredible. The save from Zlamal is as good as I’ve seen all season. Fingertips is all it was but he’s got it onto the underside of the bar.

“If we’d scored then I think it’d have rocked Hearts and given us an opportunity and a right lift.

“Then the second bit of luck we need comes with the offside goal. It’s not offside. Jamie is offside but it’s Jake Mulraney who plays the pass.”

Inverness will now return to the business of trying to get promotion from the Championship to the Premier League.

Robertson said: “It is not to be today and we now shake ourselves down because in the big scheme of things Morton on Tuesday is a far, far bigger game for us to win than today.

“But you say to players be greedy – win today and then go and win again on Tuesday.

“We are out of the Cup now and we now focus totally on the league campaign. We are close to the play-off spots but we are not there. We give the greatest respect to Dunfermline who are chasing us.

“We have to go and to do the business. We have to win the points which give us the opportunity to experience days likes today every single week in the Premiership.”