Malonga double takes Hibs to League Cup win

Hibernian's Dominique Malonga (left) is challenged by Tim Dreesen of Ross County in the League Cup third round tie.
Hibernian's Dominique Malonga (left) is challenged by Tim Dreesen of Ross County in the League Cup third round tie.
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A first-half double from recent recruit Dominique Malonga proved enough to take Hibs into the fourth round of the League Cup at the expense of Premiership basement boys Ross County.

It was a hard-fought win for the Edinburgh side, who had to see out the last eight minutes with ten men after Dylan McGeouch was sent off.

Hibs started on the back foot, with County pair Rocco Quinn and Melvin De Leeuw both seeing powerful efforts from distance deflected behind in the opening three minutes.

However, the visitors almost went ahead in seven minutes when Malonga jinked his way to the edge of the box before unleashing a powerful shot which clipped the crossbar on its way over.

At the other end, County’s Graham Carey cut in from the left and shot low into the side-netting from 16 yards out.

Hibs went close in the 20th minute but Jordon Forster’s goalbound header from Liam Craig’s inswinging free-kick was hacked clear by Filip Kiss.

The visitors only had to wait another two minutes to take the lead, and what lovely goal it was. Craig scampered down the left and delivered an inch-perfect cross for Malonga, who planted a fine header past ex-Hibee Mark Brown from eight yards out.

County almost responded instantly but Yoann Arquinn screwed an effort badly wide after Joe Cardle had put him through on goal.

Hibs doubled their lead in 36 minutes, with a similar goal to their opener, this time Malonga getting on the end of a brilliant Lewis Stevenson cross to nod home.

Dylan McGeouch then saw a low 20-yard shot held by Brown as the visitors threatened to pull further ahead.

County almost pulled one back just before the break when Mark Oxley punched a cross tamely into the path of Filip Kiss, but the Slovakian’s goalbound shot was headed brilliantly headed off the line by Craig.

Hibs went desperately close to extending their advantage two minutes after the break but Jason Cummings smashed a David Gray cross against the post from six yards out.

County threatened to pull one back in 67 minutes when Michael Gardyne swung a deep cross over to the back post but his fellow substitute Liam Boyce arced a header agonisingly wide.

Just as Hibs looked to be cruising through, however, they made things hard for themselves when McGeouch was shown a straight red card with eight minutes left for a reckless tackle on Cardle as the County man broke down the right.

The hosts pressed, but the closest they came was a late effort which was challed off for offside as Hibs marched on.

Ross County (4-2-3-1): Brown; Fenlon (Brittain 41), Frempah, Dreesen, Carey; Quinn, Irvine; De Leeuw (Gardyne 53), Kiss, Cardle (Boyce 57); Arquin. Unused subs: Reguero, Jervis, Maatsen, Balk.

Hibs (3-5-2): Oxley; Forster, Hanlon, Fontaine; Gray, Robertson, McGeouch, Craig, Stevenson; Malonga (Heffernan 85), Cummings (Allan 83). Unused subs: Perntreou, Harris, Sinclair, Booth, Kennedy.

Ref: Stephen Finnie