Hibs' losing streak continues as Christian Doidge and Martin Boyle see red in Ross County defeat
Hibs were brought back down to earth with a bump in Dingwall as they fell to a fifth straight league defeat at the hands of Ross County.
Substitute Blair Spittal’s effort 18 minutes from time was the difference although the Staggies could have won by a greater margin had Spittal not blazed an effort over the bar and stand towards the end, but of more immediate concern to Jack Ross will be the straight red cards shown to Christian Doidge during the match, and Martin Boyle in the aftermath.
The loss of two influential players is a further headache for the Capital club with an already-stretched squad and a hectic festive fixture list.
Ross made just one enforced change to his line-up, Darren McGregor replacing the suspended Ryan Porteous, while Kevin Nisbet and Paul Hanlon went close for Hibs in a competitive first half.
Hibs took just 11 minutes for their first real sight of goal, Nisbet’s header from Martin Boyle’s cross had power but lacked placement as Ash Maynard-Brewer gathered comfortably. Chris Cadden sent in another dangerous cross five minutes later but this time the Scotland striker’s header was wide of the mark.
Jordan White then passed up a gilt-edged opportunity to give the hosts an advantage as he contrived to head wide of Matt Macey’s right-hand post from close range following Joseph Hungbo’s free kick from the left flank.
Ten minutes before the break Hanlon’s effort from Cadden’s cutback struck the post.
White then sent a weak effort straight at Macey before Jordan Tillson’s agricultural challenge on Cadden saw him join Connor Randall in the referee’s notebook.
Ten minutes into the second period Cadden picked out Boyle but the forward’s shot was easily taken by Maynard-Brewer.
A blistering run by Boyle was picked up by Cadden and the wingback’s squared ball to Nisbet gave the striker another sight of goal but again his effort was straight down the ‘keeper’s throat and a header a few minutes went the same way.
He was visibly unhappy at being taken off for strike partner Christian Doidge on 66 minutes but there was logic in the decision, the Welshman’s aerial prowess lending itself more to Cadden’s frequent balls in from the right flank.
It was County who had the next chance, Macey at full stretch to deny Hungbo the opener, but the goalkeeper was beaten moments later as Blair Spittal, on as a substitute just seconds earlier, found the bottom corner through a forest of legs from Hibs’ right hand side.
Hungbo nearly doubled the Staggies’ advantage instantly as Macey’s hurried clearance fell straight to the Watford loanee, but there was just too much on his lobbed effort and it dropped behind the goal.
David Cancola nearly brought Hibs level but Maynard-Brewer spared his defender’s blushes as he hacked the ball clear from almost on the goal-line.
Doidge was shown a straight red card with six minutes remaining, and although Harry Clarke and Hungbo had further chances, Macey denied the hosts a greater margin of victory before Boyle saw red after the final whistle after confronting the referee.