Cape Town - Defender Ayanda Gcaba admits that Orlando Pirates have been lacking consistency this season, following a disappointing 2-1 defeat to Bloemfontein Celtic in midweek.
The Buccaneers surrendered their 1-0 lead in the final 12 minutes of their final game of the year in Tuesday's Absa Premiership encounter at Orlando Stadium.
Despite interim coach Augusto Palacios lambasting Bucs' players for lacking character and hunger, he praised Gcaba and midfielder Mahlatse Makudubela, whom he felt played their hearts out against Siwelele.
"Consistency is what we have been lacking as we started well in the first two league games of the season, but after that we hit a snag," Gcaba told Vodacom Soccer.
"Had it not been for our inconsistency, surely we would be amongst the log leaders by now, because at some stage we have been the log leaders at the beginning of the season."
The 30-year-year towering centre-back, who has been struggling for game-time since the beginning of the current season, made his third appearance of the campaign in Pirates' starting XI alongside Edwin Gyimah.
"Yes, it's painful for us (players) and our supporters going to festive holidays without a silverware, and not even on a good position on the log," added Gcaba, who has been a key man at the heart of Bucs' backline in the past three seasons.
"But as the team's players we have to take it upon ourselves and reflect on our shortcomings, so that we come back a resurgent team when the season resumes in February.
"We reached the semi-finals of MTN 8, and Telkom Knockout, and we aimed to clinch one of these cup titles, but things didn't go our way.
"However, all is not lost, and I'm optimistic that we still have what it takes to bounce back and make a grade in the second round," concluded Gcaba.
Having ended the year in 10th place with 18 points from 13 games, Bucs will look to redeem themselves when resuming their Premiership campaign against Platinum Stars on 8 February at the Royal Bafokeng Stadium.