Ross praises cup performance but seeks improvement

Hibernian manager Jack Ross said he was “pleased” with his side’s emphatic 5-2 victory over Inverness in the Scottish Cup quarter final on Friday night. Cameron Wanstall reports.

hibs caley

Jack Ross’ side stuck five goals past their Highland opposition on Friday night, being the first team to reach the semi finals of the Scottish Cup this season. Credit: Cameron Wanstall, ENRG Sport

 

Friday night’s Scottish Cup quarter final at Easter Road had it all – seven goals, a missed penalty from Hibs captain Paul Hanlon, a red card for Inverness’ Brad McKay and a number of tough challenges on Martin Boyle.

The Edinburgh outfit are the first team to get through to the Scottish Cup semi-finals, but Ross was under no illusion that the tie was more balanced than the score line suggests.

“It was tough. Sometimes the score line makes it look comfortable, it was far from that,” he said. “I thought the game was competitive right to the very end. I think John [Robertson] recognised how we have been playing recently and was quite brave in his system.”

The home support were starting to get restless in the first half as the players’ frustrations with their own performances was evident. Bickering between teammates and a blown opportunity to open the scoring through Hanlon’s penalty could’ve seen Inverness taking control of the game.

However, after the game Ross praised his team’s creativity and finishing after they netted five times to see off their Highland opponents. Ross said: “We are creating a lot and scoring a lot at the moment, and that variety of scorers helps as well. I think the quality of the goals tonight was really good. Different types of goals as well.”

When pressed on Martin Boyle’s booking for simulation, the Hibs boss said: “I didn’t agree with it. I thought it was an absolute certain penalty, I was astonished when it wasn’t given.”

He went on to address the opposition’s apparent targeted fouling of the mazy winger by stating: “He travels at such a pace with the ball, I don’t think they’re malicious, just people trying to stop him.”

Loanee striker Marc McNulty described his delight for Jamie Gullan, an academy prospect who scored his first senior goal for the club minutes after replacing McNulty on Friday night.

“I’m buzzing for him, I can remember when I was young and scoring my first goal, it’s a brilliant feeling and he deserves it.”

The 27-year-old continued: “He listens and he wants to learn, I’m sure he’ll have a good career in the game.”

The forward then addressed his clash with Hanlon over who should step up to take the penalty that could have gave Hibs the lead. McNulty failed to convert the last penalty he stepped up for, as has Scott Allan and now, Hanlon making it three consecutive penalty misses for Hibernian.

“I missed my last one but that doesn’t bother me. I could miss two or three and still want to take penalties. As a striker you need to be confident that you’re going to go up and put it away.”

When pressed further on the incident, McNulty responded: “I never knew Paul had been told he was to take penalty kicks. I didn’t want to make too much of a scene on the pitch.”

McNulty then jokingly said he will gladly step forward to take a penalty against city rivals Hearts on Tuesday: “If I’m allowed, and the centre-half doesn’t take one.”

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