Hibs let lead slip at Ross County but neither team will view draw as negative result
Having moved back into the top six in the league, Hibs earned a 1-1 draw in Dingwall to make it four league games without defeat. But, having taken the lead in the 32nd minute, they were pegged back with 17 minutes remaining, and passed up the opportunity to leapfrog fourth-placed Livingston, who play table-toppers Celtic in Glasgow on Wednesday.
On the night they also completed the signing of Middlesbrough striker Matthew Hoppe on loan until the end of the season, their goal against relegation battlers Ross County made it 12 strikes in those four outings. However, it was the one they conceded that would have occupied their thoughts on the road back to the capital as they nursed a sense of grievance at the way Yan Dhanda’s equaliser was scored.
There were vociferous appeals for a foul as the Ross County corner flummoxed everyone in the box and curled inside the far post but by the time the ball found crossed the line Hibs captain David Marshall was already in the net, with the goalkeeper and his team-mates claiming he had been fouled by Jordan White. VAR had a look but after an anxious wait, the goal was allowed to stand. It thrilled the vocal fan who had demanded greater accuracy from the home players just before the set piece.
It was clear that the result against Aberdeen had lifted spirits in the Hibs camp as they travelled to the Highlands with a sense of purpose. The presence of top goalscorer Kevin Nisbet, who had been the focus of several clubs’ interest throughout the transfer window, in the starting line-up was a boost after he had to make do with a substitute appearance on Saturday But after the Scotland international went down with a hamstring niggle in the 22nd minute, it was up to his colleagues to find a way through.
A defensive clearance from Joe Newell, who headed off the line in the fourth minute, laid the foundations, and along with Aussie James Jeggo, the midfielder provided solid cover for the men behind them. County’s Alex Iacovitti had another effort go just wide, but long balls over the top were causing problems at the other end.
Just after the half-hour mark, Jeggo relieved the pressure in the Hibs box and hoofed clear, leaving Elie Youan and Jack Baldwin in a chase. The home player tried to play it back to Ross Laidlaw but didn't get the necessary power on it, allowing the Frenchman nip in and prod past the County keeper and give Hibs the opening goal. A minute later there was another long ball for the forward to chase but this time the keeper was quickly out to the edge of his box to gather.
Both sides will feel they merited more than a point from the contest as they look to climb the table. But a point was not a negative – Hibs remain in fifth, while the Staggies move up to ninth, a point clear of the bottom – and both were able to give game-time to their new signings as Ross County introduced former Hibee Simon Murray at the start of the second half and the Leith side gave CJ Egan-Riley, who has already earned a place in the Hibs fans’ songbook, his debut.