Shaun Maloney hailed match-winner Jake Doyle-Hayes after the midfielder’s brace in the 2-0 victory over Ross County lifted Hibernian up to fourth in the cinch Premiership.
The Irishman scored both goals from distance after the break following a nondescript first half that lacked entertainment.
Doyle-Hayes’ second will go down as a goal-of-the-season contender, the former St Mirren player controlling and striking a volley in seamless motion to find the top corner from 20 yards.
It was Hibs’ first victory in seven league outings and manager Maloney paid credit to Doyle-Hayes for his vital contribution.
He said: “The goals were outstanding, particularly the second, it was a brilliant finish.
“The first was really important as well. We had some chances and if we had been more clinical I’d be even happier.
“But Jake was really, really good. Take away his goals and his performance was very good.
“So I’m really happy for him. I would love to take any form of credit for his strikes.
“We’ve done a lot of work in the last two or three weeks on different types of finishing.
“You have to give every credit to Jake, just two amazing goals.
“His second was just a brilliant goal. I hope he can talk you through it a lot better than I can.”
Ross County manager Malky Mackay, whose side are four points clear of the relegation zone, was furious that his team did not get awarded a free-kick in the build-up to the first goal.
He said: “The biggest thing that displeased me was the foul for the first goal.
“I think everyone saw it clear as day on the big screen from behind the goals – the angle straight on doesn’t see it but the minute it goes behind the goals, you see (Rocky) Bushiri just clipping Harry Paton’s heels as Paton goes to block the shot.
“I saw it from the dugout – why would Harry Paton just fall over? It was a huge decision to get wrong.
“I asked him about it at the end of the game. I just said: ‘It’s on the big screen, you’ll see it tonight on television’.
“In a nip-and-tuck game like that, they got the goal in a game of few chances, and it means we have to go and chase it.
“We have to expose ourselves a bit more, and get caught on the counter. That happens for their second goal – take nothing away from a fabulous strike – but that changes the dynamic of the game.
“Decisions like that have to be correct. I genuinely have no idea why Harry Paton would fall over.”
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