Ross County 0-0 Hibs: Neil Lennon says there was 'a gulf' between his side and the hosts

Hibs' Darren McGregor, Lewis Stevenson, Steven Whittaker and Martin Boyle watch as they lose the shoot-out
Hibs lost the penalty shoot-out in Dingwall

Hibernian were a class above Ross County despite the Dingwall outfit's penalty shoot-out victory, according to head coach Neil Lennon.

The bonus point after a 0-0 draw at Victoria Park puts County four points clear at the top of Scottish League Cup Group D.

But Lennon said: "I thought there was a gulf between the teams and we were in the ascendancy for most of the game.

"I couldn't have asked any more of the team. I thought we were outstanding."

Hibs had the early pressure, but both sides missed chances during the 90 minutes before Michael Gardyne slotted the winning penalty for the Edinburgh side's Premiership rivals.

"Everything to be positive about," Lennon, whose side were promoted as Championship winners last season, told BBC Scotland.

"Ross County had a couple of chances in the first half, but we dominated the game in terms of chances and possession.

"I got everything I wanted from the game and we're still a work in progress."

Lennon gave debuts to summer signings Danny Swanson and Steven Whittaker, while Efe Ambrose was back in the side after joining permanently from Celtic after last season's loan spell.

"The squad's still a little bit thin and we're using some young players," said Lennon.

"But, in terms of my senior players, they were magnificent: Swanson, Boyle, McGinn, Bartley and McGeouch; Ambrose came onto a game.

"Whittaker cruised through it and I've got a very good goalkeeper, so all the signs are very encouraging."

Ross County's Michael Gardyne scores the winning penalty
Ross County's Michael Gardyne scored the winning penalty

County manager Jim McIntyre picked out John McGinn as Hibs' outstanding performer and suggested that the Edinburgh club were likely to receive offers for the midfielder.

"For me, Marcus Fraser was the outstanding performer at the back for us with his reading of the tackles," he said.

"We needed that, because we are up against good players - John McGinn is one of the best midfielders in the country and Hibs will do well to hold on to him."

Hibs have a game in hand over County, but McIntyre was delighted to be in a position of ensuring they qualify as group winners if they beat League One outfit Arbroath at Gayfield in their final game.

"Penalties are always a lottery, so I'm delighted to get through it and it is in our hands now," he said.

"I thought Hibs came out the traps better than us, were a bit fresher and we struggled to contain their movement.

"But we were still a threat on the break, although I was frustrated at how we gave the ball away.

"That was maybe because Hibs started so well and we were a bit spooked.

"I thought the substitutes that came on gave us a bit of impetus and it was better in the second half.

"Scott Fox made a great save at the end, but other than that, the saves he made were ones he should have made."

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