Scottish League Cup - Group D
Ross County0Hibernian0
Ross County win 4-3 on penalties

Ross County 0-0 Hibernian (4-3 on pens)

Ross County goalkeeper Scott Fox congratulates Michael Gardyne
Scott Fox made penalty saves before Michael Gardyne sealed the bonus point

Ross County beat Hibernian to claim a League Cup bonus point after a penalty shootout was needed to separate the sides following a goalless 90 minutes.

County had won their first two Group D games and Hibs had taken full points from their only other game.

But, despite some exciting play, especially in the opening half, chances came and went in the first group game to involve two Premiership sides.

Michael Gardyne fired the deciding spot kick after Oli Shaw's was saved.

The extra point puts County, who had gone into the game seeking their fifth win in a row and 10th unbeaten following a good end to last season, in control at the top of the group.

Hibs, promoted as Championship winners last season, had arrived in Dingwall unbeaten in their last five games away from home.

Hibs' Oli Shaw is disappointed after missing a crucial penalty
Hibs' Oli Shaw was left disappointed after missing a crucial penalty

And they gave debuts to summer signings Steven Whittaker and Danny Swanson, while Efe Ambrose was in the back line for the first time since making his move permanent from Celtic and a mix-up that led to a delayed return for pre-season training.

However, it was the starting place handed to Marvin Bartley that gave Hibs early dominance as the big Englishman shrugged off the challenges to dominate midfield.

His ball winning allowed John McGinn and Martin Boyle licence to bomb forward and continually worry the County rearguard with their thrusting runs towards the edge of the penalty box.

County were hampered by the loss to injury of forward Craig Curran after only seven minutes as Ambrose made his presence felt with a hefty challenge.

It meant that summer signing Thomas Mikkelsen made a swift return to the home line-up after Alex Shalk was handed a starting place ahead of the former Dundee United striker.

County were left reeling and goalkeeper Scott Fox, back in the side after young Aaron McCarey was given a workout against Montrose, was tested early by a couple of grass cutters from Dylan McGeouch and Simon Murray.

Ross County's Tim Chow and Hibs' Steven Whittaker
Summer signing Steven Whittaker (right) was making his Hibs debut

The home side, though, regained their composure and confidence after an Andrew Davies header that was beaten away by Hibs goalkeeper Ofir Marciano.

A Gardyne drive and a Ryan Dow cross almost deflected into his own net by Lewis Stevenson followed, while the Hibs full-back and McGinn flashed shots just wide as a high-tempo first half drew to a close.

County are obviously still adapting to the summer sale of Liam Boyce, last season's Premiership to scorer sold to Burton Albion, while it was too early for Hibs' latest addition, Lithuania striker Deivydas Matulevicius, to have more than a spectator's seat in the stand.

With defences tightened after the break, the game was crying out for a finisher and Hibs head coach Neil Lennon hauled off Simon Murray and sent on former County striker Brian Graham.

Yet it was a mistake from Fox, who let a deflected Boyle cross slip between his legs and just wide of the post, that came close to providing a killer moment.

Fox then denied Boyle at point-blank range and a Darren McGregor header struck the underside of the bar in stoppage time as Hibs paid the price for not finding the target before the game was decided from the penalty spot.

As It Stood

A

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Inverness CT21103035
2Falkirk11004133
3Brechin201114-32
4Forfar10101101
5Stirling201114-31

B

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Dunfermline21106065
2Hearts11001013
3Peterhead11001013
4East Fife201101-11
5Elgin200207-70

C

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Dundee Utd22005056
2Cowdenbeath11004223
3Dundee11002113
4Raith Rovers200214-30
5Buckie Thistle200227-50

D

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Ross County32108088
2Hibernian21104044
3Arbroath10101102
4Alloa201113-21
5Montrose2002010-100

E

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Ayr22004136
2Kilmarnock21014313
3Clyde210145-13
4Annan Athletic100112-10
5Dumbarton100113-20

F

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Morton21103215
2Motherwell11005143
3Edinburgh City10102202
4Berwick201123-11
5Queen's Park201137-41

G

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Queen of Sth21103124
2Hamilton11003123
3Stenhousemuir201124-22
4East Kilbride201113-22
5Albion10101101

H

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Livingston21102115
2St Mirren21014223
3Airdrieonians11003123
4Partick Thistle10101101
5Stranraer200227-50
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