Five straight league defeats “not acceptable”, says Hibs boss Jack Ross
Five Premiership defeats in a row is “not acceptable for a club of our ambition and standing”, according to Hibs head coach Jack Ross.
On a night to forget in Dingwall when Christian Doidge and Martin Boyle were both sent off in a disappointing 1-0 defeat by Ross County, Sunday’s Hampden heroics were forgotten as Hibs crashed back to Earth.
Ross revealed that Doidge, who came on for the out-of-sorts Kevin Nisbet midway through the second half, was dismissed for violent conduct, his high challenge on County’s David Cancola expected to result in an automatic two-match suspension.
To rub salt into Hibs wound, Boyle was given a straight red card immediately after the final whistle after an exchange of words with referee Gavin Duncan. If reported by the official as offensive language, it is likely to land the winger with a one-match ban.
“We’ve got a tough enough month ahead of us without losing players, and important players,” said Ross, who said he would look at both sendings off again before deciding whether or not to appeal.
If both red cards are accepted by the club Doidge and Boyle will be suspended for Saturday’s trip to St Johnstone, where another defeat would equal the six-in-a-row run which condemned Terry Butcher’s team to relegation in 2013/14.
“We’re not on a good run in the league,” Ross continued. “It’s not acceptable for a club of our ambition and standing. I’ve not had any periods like this as a manager. We need to be better.”
Asked to assess the performance, Ross told BBC Sportsound: “I don’t think we were poor. I don’t think we were exceptional. I don’t think we necessarily deserved to lose the game. The only opportunities against us came in the later period when we were down to ten men. Prior to that we were comfortable.
“In the first half, we created good opportunities and didn't take them. Second half, we huffed and puffed. We maybe ran out of a little energy on the back of Sunday.
“The performance level was OK, but it needs to be better than OK to win games. We need to get back to doing that as soon as possible in terms of the league.”
With the games now starting to come thick and fast in what is shaping up to be a gruelling end to the year, there is little time for Hibs to lick their wounds.
After they travel north again on Saturday to visit St Johnstone, another meeting with Rangers awaits next midweek, this time in the Premiership, at Easter Road.