Glenn Ferguson banned his players from wallowing in self-pity following their Irish Cup dejection on Saturday.
Winger David Cushley admitted the mood in the Sky Blues camp “resembled a morgue” after their 2-1 defeat to Glenavon.
It is 25 years since the Showgrounds club lifted the Irish Cup, with that eternal wait set to continue for at least another year.
“Everyone is gutted – that is natural,” Ferguson said after Saturday’s game.
“But the players will have a good night tonight.
“We have had a long, hard season. We have reached two cup semi-finals and a final.
“We have also finished seventh in the league.
“We haven’t won anything, but we are progressing, and we can look to the future with a lot of encouragement.
“The players should enjoy themselves tonight. I remember losing the 1996 cup final against Glentoran when I was with Glenavon, but we had a fantastic night afterwards.
“I also remember lifting the cup the following year, and the night being rubbish.
“It was a damp squib. The players were emotionally drained and it was a rubbish night.
“So we will go out and enjoy ourselves tonight.”
Ferguson praised Glenavon following their Irish Cup success at Windsor Park.
“Fair play to Glenavon. I hope they enjoy this and get a good draw in Europe,” he added.
“I am just disappointed for my players and the supporters who turned out in force today.
“I don’t want to overshadow Glenavon’s win with talk about the refereeing performance.
“I didn’t think we played well in the first half and Glenavon went deservedly in front.
“They were catching us on the counter and got the goal.
“We applied a lot of pressure in the second half and got the equaliser, but then we got caught five minutes later.
“That happens in football, and it was a decent finish. Mark Patton deserves credit for that.”