Jack Ross could afford to laugh off another penalty mishap after Hibernian romped to a comprehensive 5-2 win over Inverness in the William Hill Scottish Cup quarter-finals.
The Hibees were awarded a spot-kick with the score locked at 0-0, prompting a full-blooded debate between Paul Hanlon and Marc McNulty, who missed a spot-kick against Livingston at the weekend.
Hanlon won that particular battle and, as the Scotland striker looked on glumly, his effort was saved by Mark Ridgers.
Hibs have now missed three successive penalties but Ross believes it is no cause for concern after watching the capital club book their place at Hampden.
Ross said: “I genuinely didn’t see them arguing about it but they were still having a chat at half-time. I’m OK with that – we’ve got players who are hungry for success.
“I’ve always been relaxed about it [penalty takers] as a manager – maybe I shouldn’t be because we’ve missed three in a row.
“You have to feel good about it on the park at the time and the three who have taken them have all felt good.
“Paul [Hanlon] is a good footballer – technically very good – and better than most in the squad when it comes to striking the ball.
“We’re just going through one of those periods and hopefully we score one soon and put it to bed.”
Mercifully for Ross, Hibs were far more clinical from open play as five different scorers found the target – Adam Jackson, Scott Allan, Greg Docherty, Stephane Omeonga and Jamie Gullan.
Carl Tremarco and Nikolay Todorov netted for Inverness, who finished the match with 10 men following the dismissal of Brad McKay.
“You look at the scoreline and, although I think we deserved to win, it was far from comfortable,” added Ross. “It was tough and competitive.
“John [Robertson] recognised how we’d been playing recently and was brave in his system but the result was an open game and we created a lot.”
Visiting boss Robertson described his overriding emotions as ‘pride’ and ‘frustration’ following the deceptively comprehensive defeat.
He was particularly irked by referee Nick Walsh failing to award the Highlanders a penalty for a perceived foul on Tremarco. Moments later, Hibs broke away and made it 2-1.
“A massive moment went against us – a clear penalty kick,” he rued. “Carl Tremarco is brought down and the ref hasn’t seen it.
“You need luck and that’s where it deserted us. It’s a penalty kick.
“And, if he gives it, it’s a red card because the player is not attempting to play the ball.”
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