Hibs boss Jack Ross states Scottish Cup ambition as Queen of the South query penalty call
The draw is opening up to the extent that the Easter Road side know they can earn a quarter-final place at home against either Motherwell or Morton if they negotiate a return trip to Dumfries and Galloway on the weekend of April 17.
Ross is desperate to reach Hampden again after losing successive semi-finals in both the Betfred and Scottish Cups. Hibs have reached the last-four stage of the last three domestic knockout cup competitions.
A brace from Christian Doidge and a goal, with just over 20 minutes left, from Martin Boyle saw Hibs deal with a tricky assignment at Palmerston Park against Queen of the South. Queens scored a fine consolation goal from James Maxwell with nine minutes left. Doidge almost claimed a hat-trick but his header came off the post as Hibs looked to finish off a tiring Queens side late on.
“For us at the start of the season it was about doing well in the league and trying to win a cup,” said Ross. “Since I’ve come here our record in cup competitions in terms of winning games has been good.
“It is just that we have fallen at the last-four stage in the last two competitions. If you win five games then you can win the Scottish and that is what we will be aiming to do. That has to be the ambition and the players have the belief to go and do that.
“We have ourselves a platform in the first half and after the break we were very good,” he reflected. “We are a very good team and we have shown that over the course of the season.
“It is a pleasing night and we scored some good goals. Christian is in a good place at the moment and it was also a good finish from Martin Boyle as well.”
Doidge again underlined his capabilities at a critical time of the season. He has spoken before of his international ambitions with Wales and three goals in his last two appearances – after 15 games without a goal – will surely put him back on the radar ahead of this summer's Euro 2020 tournament.
“Christian is quite streaky when it comes to scoring but I have been pleased with his overall play,” said Ross.
Queens manager Allan Johnston was furious at his side having been denied a penalty just before Hibs’ second goal when Stephen Dobbie went sprawling in the box. Johnston claimed referee Willie Collum admitted there was contact from Joe Newell – just not enough.
“I don't know how he can actually judge that,” said Johnston. “If there is contact, he has put him the wrong way and he [Newell] has brought him down inside the box – surely that is a penalty.
“They go straight up the park and score and it is a completely different game. We were disappointed to lose the three goals tonight, which were all cheaply conceded from our point of view – we could have defended them better. Those are the small things we need to improve on, especially playing against Premiership opposition.”