Pat Fenlon lauded a stoic Hibernian display as his new-look team claimed a place in the Scottish Cup quarter-finals with a 1-0 win over Kilmarnock.
Eoin Doyle's strike proved enough to secure a first win at Easter Road for Hibernian since September and send the Edinburgh side into the last eight of a competition they have not won in 109 years. But it was the defensive resilience which proved most pleasing for manager Fenlon, as the Hibernian back-line remained firm in the face of Kilmarnock's possession and probing.
Fenlon said: "It's great to be through and I thought we showed great character today and defended really well as a team. The players deserve the credit - they put in the shift and got the reward."
Stand-in captain James McPake was imperious, and Paul Hanlon appeared to revel alongside the on-loan Coventry man.
Deadline-day arrivals Matt Doherty and Pa Kujabi were also excellent on their debuts, while the midfield and attack were defensively diligent.
It was a notable progression for the Hibernian side who had conceded 14 goals in five matches prior to this encounter and had not registered a clean sheet at home since September.
Fenlon added: "I thought Kilmarnock had a lot of possession but most of the shots were from long range.
"From the front two right through to the goalkeeper we were determined. We got the early goal and it really gave us something to hold on to.
"James [McPake] was brilliant. I thought the whole back four were excellent, the two full-backs and Paul [Hanlon] were different class as well.
"It's my first clean sheet, and it's something we've spoken about. If you keep clean sheets then you've got a great chance of winning matches. It's something we can build on. We have to be solid as a team and attack when we can, and we showed that."