Hibs will appeal Joe Newell red card if they can as second-half reaction hailed
Two goals from Martin Boyle and a third from Kevin Nisbet leaves them in a solid position ahead of next week’s second leg, but they had to show mental strength to regain their equilibrium in the second half after the controversial sending off of Newell after half an hour.
"It was eventful,” said manager Jack Ross. “The first 20 minutes it goes to plan, scoring, the way the game was panning out, then of course the officiating is questionable, not just in that period but through the course of the game.
“I think when we went a man down we were spooked by and didn't respond particularly well in that period but when getting at half time unscathed was important.
“I haven’t seen [Joe’s challenge] but my staff have and they’re all in agreement it wasn’t a red card. I think there were even people doubting whether it was a yellow. I think it went hand in hand with how the game had started from an officiating point of view. There were a heck of a lot of cautions throughout the game.
“Changing the system at half time, and with the affirmation that the players were still being good players and that doesn’t change when you go down to 10 men, that helped and I think in the second half the game changes again with the other sendings off, but before that we looked a better side again and the players deserved credit for that, for responding as we had that period when we lost that little bit of composure but regained it well."
The Andorran underdogs had two men sent off themselves later in the match but that did not dilute the sense of injustice in the Hibs ranks and in the stands over Newell’s punishment, which is why the club could appeal, according to Ross.
“I’m not sure how the process works but if it is in line with our domestic [system] and we feel it’s unjust, we will.”