Neil Lennon has ordered Efe Ambrose to cut out the mistakes which are costing the Easter Road side goals after the defender gifted Ross County a penalty which threatened to knock Hibs out of the Betfred Cup.
Lennon’s players had been forced to haul themselves level after Michael Gardyne had fired the Staggies into a shock lead, Hibs skipper David Gray cancelling out that strike just five minutes later. But the Capital side found themselves behind again as Nigerian internationalist Ambrose allowed the ball to break off his body before being adjudged to have fouled County striker Declan McManus. Josh Mullin put the Championship outfit ahead for a second time from the spot but Stevie Mallan claimed a second for Hibs with his sixth goal of the season before new boy Daryl Horgan fired home a dramatic winner in added-on time to seal a 3-2 win and set up a quarter-final clash with Aberdeen. Lennon had made six changes to the team which was knocked out of the Europa League by Norwegian club Molde three days earlier, a move which, he admitted, led to his side’s play being a bit fragmented but while delighted to have eventually won, he was less than happy with Ambrose. He said: “We gifted them goals, Efe has to stop it. The second goal was a piece of nonsense, it was uncalled for and we had a bit of a wobble after that penalty. The players have plenty of character, which is great. But it is almost as if we wake them up from a slumber.
“The reaction was great, Stevie Mallan comes up with a great goal. He’s been a revelation. And Horgan has got off to a great start. This was his first game for a while but he is quality. I was surprised he lasted the 90 minutes but I was delighted with his performance.”
Lennon revealed he expects his latest signing, Australian internationalist Mark Milligan, to arrive in Edinburgh imminently although the midfielder still requires a work permit. However, he believes the 33-year-old, a veteran of four World Cup final campaigns will bring “a bit of physicality” to his side.
“Looking at us today we looked a bit like the seven dwarves at times,” he joked, before adding: “Mark will bring that. He is athletic, very experienced, had a good World Cup and I like his composure on the ball. He is a big boy and can get about the pitch and I think he will make us better going forward.”
The victory over Ross County saw Lennon eventually finish his SFA touchline ban and he admitted he’s looking forward to getting back into the dug-out.
“It will be a novelty getting back in there,” he admitted. “But I am pleased, it’s almost as if my season is starting as well. We can get some work done on the training ground, which has been a luxury I haven’t had in recent weeks with the games we have had so I’ll just keep my mouth shut and get on with my job.”