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Jack Ross lauds Hibernian’s defending in victory over Kilmarnock

Hibernian v Rangers – Scottish Premiership – Easter Road
(Image credit: Andrew Milligan)

Jack Ross was full of praise for Hibernian’s defensive performance in the 1-0 win against Kilmarnock in the Premiership.

Hibs recorded their sixth clean sheet in the league this season led by their talismanic captain Paul Hanlon.

Kevin Nisbet’s first-half penalty was enough to secure all three points for Hibs as they moved into third position in the table and Ross was delighted to prevent Killie from having a shot on target.

“Our defensive players have been terrific all season,” he said.

“We reflected back on last season when it was curtailed and we knew that we had to improve defensively as a whole team. We conceded too many goals last year but our record this season is very good.

“We’ve managed a good amount of clean sheets and two back-to-back away is very good. Individually, they’ve been very good whether that’s in a back four or five.

“They are in a good place and you can see the fruits of that hard work put in on the training ground in their performance level.

“It’s not easy winning here and everybody is so happy in the changing room. We played really well last week and created umpteen opportunities but drew the game.

“Today, we had to tough it out and we are really pleased we did that. It’s a sign of how far we’ve come this season to be able to do that.”

Nisbet converted from the spot for his eighth goal of the season after Hibs were awarded a controversial penalty.

Referee Colin Steven pointed to the spot after deliberation with his linesman who ruled that Clevid Dikamona fouled Christian Doidge although there appeared to be limited contact.

Killie struggled to break down a resolute Hibs defence and their best opportunity fell in the 40th minute when Greg Kiltie had a shot cleared off the line by Nisbet.

Kilmarnock manager Alex Dyer was left frustrated with the penalty decision, believing the offence occurred outside the box.

“It wasn’t a penalty. I’ve seen it again, it’s definitely outside the box and it’s cost us the game,” he said.

“I thought it was soft at the time and very harsh, it’s a difficult one to swallow. I was told that it was the far-side linesman who gave it which doesn’t make sense to me. The linesman at the right side didn’t give it.

“The referee looked at it, turned away before coming back and giving it. It’s a hard one to take against a good side but we have to dust ourselves down and go again.”