Scottish Premiership
Hibernian2Ross County2

Hibernian 2-2 Ross County: Visitors battle back from two down to draw

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Highlights: Hibernian 2-2 Ross County

Joe Chalmers scored a 90th-minute leveller as Ross County roared back from two goals down to keep Hibernian 11th in the Scottish Premiership.

Daryl Horgan and Scott Allan had Hibs ahead and seemingly cruising to a first league win since the opening day.

But former Easter Road striker Brian Graham curled in a wonderful effort to haul County back into the contest.

And Chalmers rasped a left-foot drive beyond Chris Maxwell to earn the visitors a point that keeps them sixth.

Hibs ought to have made this a comfortable victory, with Kamberi striking the post while their 2-0 lead was still intact. It is the sixth time in 10 league matches that Paul Heckingbottom's side have surrendered a winning position.

It took County an hour to deliver something approaching a response to their 6-0 drubbing at Celtic Park last week, but the fightback sparked by Graham's outstanding strike will ensure the away side enjoy a happy return trip north.

Fragile Hibs pegged back yet again

In their past five league games, against Hearts and Celtic, Aberdeen, Hamilton Academical and now Ross County, Hibs have blown leads and allowed a glut of points to slip from their grasp.

They are, incredibly, on a five-match unbeaten run, but this grim streak is no cause for exaltation.

Hibs are desperately fragile. The steel that characterised the Neil Lennon era and the early days of Heckingbottom has evaporated.

This team and their ineffectual summer signings have regressed to the soft-bellied, vulnerable stereotype that blighted them for years. Some of them don't seem to have the appetite for the helter-skelter battle this league demands.

In short, "Hibs-ing it" is back in the Scottish football vernacular.

Quite how they failed to get over the line against a Ross County side that mustered a single shot on target prior to Graham's goal will infuriate and embarrass.

Heckingbottom packed his starting midfield with plodding technicians; each tidy and accomplished on the ball; none with the speed or dynamism to scythe open defences. The net result in a soporific first half was a slew of pretty, pedestrian interplay with little prospect of crafting a breakthrough.

When they did conjure openings, usually through Allan, their playmaker and fulcrum, they looked desperately bereft of ruthlessness.

After Melker Hallberg cracked the bar with an early free-kick, Jason Naismith smashed over at the back post, Kamberi saw a shot beaten away by Laidlaw and a fantastic Ross Draper block diverted Josh Vela's effort wide.

Enter Horgan. Enter speed and character. The Irishman, a half-time substitute, scampered on to a lovely Naismith ball and drove beyond Ross Laidlaw. Hibs began to motor.

Hibernian past five league matches
Hibernian have surrendered winning positions in their past five league outings

Allan swaggered inside from the left and reversed a beautiful shot in to the bottom corner, a carbon copy of the winner against St Mirren all the way back on 3 August - the last time this crowd had three points to savour.

Kamberi should have blasted in a third and there were other opportunities squandered, but Hibs looked utterly untroubled.

County seemed a busted flush. There was no rousing call to arms after that humiliation at Parkhead, no hint at the blockbuster finale to come. That was until Graham collected the ball with his back to goal, and on the half-turn, bent a sensational curler into the far corner.

It was a bolt from a blue and a shot in County arms. Barely a minute later, Graham should have levelled, skewing a header wide from point-blank range.

Hibs composed themselves and got back on the ball, but there was an inevitability about the equaliser, a horror movie these supporters have been watching on a loop this past few months.

Chalmers strode towards the box, driving a shot into the bottom corner. Bang. The away end erupted. So, for entirely different reasons, did the home stands. Two more points gone. Still second-bottom. Another painful case of "Hibs-ing it" to add to the reel of nightmares.

Man of the match - Daryl Horgan

BBC Scotland's Brian McLauchlin at Easter Road

In a game where three of the four goals were scored by substitutes the award must go to the player who had the biggest impact from the bench.

Horgan scored the opener with a clinical finish and it was his dynamic pace that turned what had previously been a turgid game into one that delivered a thrilling end.

Allan notched a wonderful second while the County replies from Graham and Chalmers were both terrific finishes, however for his all-round contribution Horgan did just enough.

'The response was great' - reaction

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'The manager pays the price for poor results'

Hibernian head coach Paul Heckingbottom: "It's two points lost, without a doubt. Although we wouldn't say to you guys, we sometimes say to the players, 'It's been an officiating decision', things like that. Certainly not today. At 2-0 we look comfortable, had a really, really big chance to make it three, and I think that'd put the game to bed, but we didn't. It's two points dropped, you can't hide that."

Ross County co-manager Steven Ferguson: "We were certainly looking like the team that were going to win it in the end. We were disappointed in the goals we lost but we felt the response was great. We could have easily downed tools and lay down but the players didn't do that and 2-2 is probably a fair result. We'll take the point; it feels more like three."

Line-ups

Hibernian

  • 28Maxwell
  • 21Naismith
  • 25Porteous
  • 4Hanlon
  • 16Stevenson
  • 6Vela
  • 20HallbergBooked at 24minsSubstituted forHorganat 45'minutes
  • 14Mallan
  • 23AllanSubstituted forJacksonat 88'minutes
  • 11NewellSubstituted forMurrayat 81'minutes
  • 22Kamberi

Substitutes

  • 1Marciano
  • 7Horgan
  • 17James
  • 18Jackson
  • 19Middleton
  • 32Shaw
  • 33Murray

Ross County

  • 1Laidlaw
  • 2Fraser
  • 15Watson
  • 4FontaineBooked at 52mins
  • 3Kelly
  • 7Gardyne
  • 6Draper
  • 16SpenceSubstituted forChalmersat 72'minutes
  • 18FosterSubstituted forMullinat 72'minutes
  • 17HendersonSubstituted forGrahamat 64'minutes
  • 9Mckay

Substitutes

  • 12Grivosti
  • 14Mullin
  • 19Graham
  • 20Spittal
  • 23Chalmers
  • 24Paton
  • 41Dixon-Hodge
Referee:
Steven McLean
Attendance:
15,452

Match Stats

Home TeamHibernianAway TeamRoss County
Possession
Home55%
Away45%
Shots
Home13
Away7
Shots on Target
Home6
Away3
Corners
Home5
Away5
Fouls
Home15
Away10

Live Text

Match ends, Hibernian 2, Ross County 2.

Full Time

Second Half ends, Hibernian 2, Ross County 2.

Goal!

Goal! Hibernian 2, Ross County 2. Joe Chalmers (Ross County) left footed shot from outside the box to the bottom right corner.

Substitution

Substitution, Hibernian. Adam Jackson replaces Scott Allan because of an injury.

Paul Hanlon (Hibernian) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Foul by Billy Mckay (Ross County).

Corner, Ross County. Conceded by Fraser Murray.

Corner, Ross County. Conceded by Lewis Stevenson.

Foul by Stephen Mallan (Hibernian).

Joe Chalmers (Ross County) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

Substitution

Substitution, Hibernian. Fraser Murray replaces Joe Newell because of an injury.

Foul by Jason Naismith (Hibernian).

Michael Gardyne (Ross County) wins a free kick on the right wing.

Attempt missed. Brian Graham (Ross County) header from very close range is close, but misses to the left.

Goal!

Goal! Hibernian 2, Ross County 1. Brian Graham (Ross County) right footed shot from outside the box to the top right corner. Assisted by Michael Gardyne.

Substitution

Substitution, Ross County. Josh Mullin replaces Richard Foster.

Substitution

Substitution, Ross County. Joe Chalmers replaces Lewis Spence.

Foul by Paul Hanlon (Hibernian).

Michael Gardyne (Ross County) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

Joe Newell (Hibernian) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

Foul by Ross Draper (Ross County).

Attempt missed. Billy Mckay (Ross County) right footed shot from very close range is close, but misses to the right following a set piece situation.

Foul by Lewis Stevenson (Hibernian).

Billy Mckay (Ross County) wins a free kick on the right wing.

Attempt missed. Jason Naismith (Hibernian) right footed shot from the right side of the six yard box misses to the right.

Corner, Hibernian. Conceded by Marcus Fraser.

Substitution

Substitution, Ross County. Brian Graham replaces Ewan Henderson.

Foul by Ryan Porteous (Hibernian).

Liam Fontaine (Ross County) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

Corner, Hibernian. Conceded by Michael Gardyne.

Corner, Hibernian. Conceded by Michael Gardyne.

Attempt blocked. Scott Allan (Hibernian) right footed shot from the left side of the box is blocked.

Attempt missed. Michael Gardyne (Ross County) right footed shot from outside the box is too high.

Foul by Paul Hanlon (Hibernian).

Ewan Henderson (Ross County) wins a free kick on the left wing.

Goal!

Goal! Hibernian 2, Ross County 0. Scott Allan (Hibernian) right footed shot from outside the box to the bottom left corner.

Corner, Ross County. Conceded by Stephen Mallan.

Booking

Liam Fontaine (Ross County) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

Daryl Horgan (Hibernian) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Foul by Liam Fontaine (Ross County).

goal

As It Stood

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Celtic97112872122
2Rangers97112762122
3Kilmarnock1052398117
4Motherwell95131513216
5Aberdeen94321310315
6Ross County103431219-713
7Livingston103341313012
8Hamilton102351019-99
9Hearts101541014-48
10St Mirren1022659-48
11Hibernian101541020-108
12St Johnstone101451024-147
View full Scottish Premiership table

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