VAR cost us fourth says Hibs boss Lee Johnson as he slams Ross County goal and speaks on Kevin Nisbet injury
Lee Johnson claimed VAR had let Hibs down again after the Easter Road side were held to a 1-1 draw by Ross County in Dingwall.
Élie Youan opened the scoring in the first half with Yan Dhanda equalising direct from a corner on 73 minutes, but Staggies pair Keith Watson and Jordan White appeared to obstruct goalkeeper David Marshall, preventing him from reaching the ball. A VAR check was carried out but determined that there was no foul and the goal stood despite the protestations of the Hibs players.
Speaking afterwards, the Hibs boss said: “I'm really disappointed with the quality of what's gone on so far this season with VAR and tonight it's cost us. It's a foul, especially in the wind – when the wind is going towards you, you can't be bundled into the goal by two players and it not be a foul. It's frustrating, but it doesn't surprise me. I don't understand it. I think VAR has been really poor so far. I don't like it, I don't trust it, and I haven't enjoyed it.
"It's frustrating because it's cost us fourth. The positive is we've gone four unbeaten in the league which is quite good after our bad run but I wanted another three points tonight and I wanted to be fourth."
The conditions were not conducive to good football being played, and Johnson admitted the inclement weather had affected proceedings on the park.
"I felt in the first half we had a lot of control and deserved to be 1-0 up, although maybe not with as many shots as I'd like, and I know you've got to score two or three goals at a place like this in conditions like this. We had the opportunity to go 2-0 up in the second half, I think three or four of the lads had a go at it, but I just thought we were sloppy in the second half. The conditions were horrendous – 40mph winds, boys trying to clear it and put their foot on it but you feel like the gusts are taking you back to your own goal.
“We've got to be a bit harder with ourselves sometimes. We're not a million miles away, but when we've got the sword to the jugular, we’ve got to push it through and I don't think we did that enough.”
There was concern for Hibs midway through the first half when Kevin Nisbet pulled up with a hamstring problem. The Scotland striker, who U-turned on a move to Millwall last week, limped off to be replaced by Harry McKirdy, but Johnson insisted it was too early to tell the severity of the injury, although he expressed delight with getting a loan deal for Middlesbrough striker Matthew Hoppe over the line during the match.
"Kevin's disappointed. We don't know the extent of the injury; he felt a pinch and he said he felt he caught it early in terms of it not being a sheer slice of the muscle, but we'll have to see. It normally settles down in 48 hours so we can get it scanned and go from there,” Johnson added.
"I'm happy to get Matthew Hoppe done – especially after Nizzy. It's important to have more and more options from the bench.”