Hibernian 2-2 Ross County: Montgomery laments hosts' game management after shipping two-goal lead

Jordan White scores at Hibs
Jordan White's stunning finish on the turn completed Ross County's comeback at Easter Road

Hibernian head coach Nick Montgomery said his side passed up the chance to move into the Scottish Premiership's top six by "not managing the game properly" as Ross County fought back from two goals down in a thrilling draw.

In a first half lacking serious cutting edge, Elie Youan's long-range effort deflected fortuitously off Ben Purrington to give the hosts the lead just three minutes before the break at Easter Road.

Hibs doubled their advantage shortly after the interval as Dylan Levitt's clipped ball over the top was latched on to by Jair Tavares, who dribbled into the visiting box and slammed in his first goal for the club.

But Yan Dhanda's introduction orchestrated a County comeback as the substitute's cross was diverted by Allan Delferriere into his own net before the midfielder played a key role in Jordan White's stunning leveller, which was smashed in on the spin.

"Two-nil up at home and giving two goals away is definitely two points dropped," Montgomery told BBC Scotland. "I don't think we were complacent. I made a couple of changes tonight and I will take responsibility for those.

"We have to be better and I share the fans' frustration at the way we conceded the two goals because they were both avoidable. We should have managed the game better, but we didn't."

The result means Hibs - who go to Hampden on Saturday to face Aberdeen for a place in the Viaplay Cup final - stay eighth, while County move up to ninth.

Malky Mackay's side are now without a victory in seven matches, but this point - earned three days after they let a two-goal lead of their own slip at Motherwell - will galvanise the Highlanders after the weekend disappointment.

Meanwhile, Nick Montgomery - now on a five-game winless run - has plenty ponder with Saturday's semi-final fast approaching.

Player of the match - Yan Dhanda

Yan Dhanda
County substitute Yan Dhanda's outstanding quality on the ball turned the game around for the away side

Hibs mentality comes under scrutiny again - analysis

A soft underbelly has been a constant criticism of this Hibs side, who have now lost four points from winning positions this term.

Coming back from two down at Tynecastle in the Edinburgh derby earlier this month perhaps pointed to a shift in mentality, but results like this highlight the mountain of work Montgomery still has to get through.

Granted, it is still very early days in his reign and he can get his tenure back on track with a semi-final victory on Saturday, but the jury is still out on the Hibs boss' 4-4-2 formation.

With attacking wingers deployed either side of a two-man midfield, the Easter Road side struggle to get a grip of games for sustained periods.

Montgomery has also given himself a big decision to make in the goalkeeping position after dropping David Marshall to hand a start to Jojo Wollacott, who showed superb ability with his feet and made two top saves late on from headers by Ryan Leak and Will Nightingale.

For County, it is another point further clear from the foot of the table - but if Mackay's side can tighten up their defensive duties, their midfield and attack is capable of driving this team towards the top half.

In the past three days alone, White, Simon Murray and Eamonn Brophy have shown they can find the net, while Dhanda, Kyle Turner and Victor Loturi continue to impress in midfield.

What they said

Hibernian head coach Nick Montgomery: "We conceded from a quick free-kick that we weren't set for, it's a disappointing own goal and 2-1 it is a dangerous scoreline. We also didn't perform to the standard that we expect.

"I felt the boys that came in tonight deserved the start. The squad are honest and hardworking. I'm the manager, I make the decisions, but it's down to everybody."

Ross County manager Malky Mackay: "I thought the players were really brave to come down to Easter Road, pass the ball the way we did and score the goals we did. I'm disappointed we didn't win.

"I thought we were terrific. When I look at it, we have done a lot of work in a week. There were various changes throughout the week and, at the end of it, I've got to be happy."

What's next?

Hibernian meet Aberdeen at Hampden on Saturday (17:15 GMT) in their Viaplay Cup last-four tie. Ross County host Celtic in the league earlier in the day (12:30).

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