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Shaun Maloney bemoans penalty decision in Hibs’ defeat to Rangers

Hibernian v Cove Rangers – Scottish Cup – Fourth Round – Easter Road
(Image credit: Andrew Milligan)

Hibernian manager Shaun Maloney felt his side were denied a clear penalty during their 2-0 defeat at Ibrox.

With Rangers leading through James Tavernier’s fifth-minute spot-kick after Paul McGinn brought down Ryan Kent, Hibs claimed for their own penalty when home defender Calvin Bassey grappled with Ryan Porteous at a corner.

However, referee Nick Walsh gave a free-kick to Rangers.

The incident came during a decent spell for Hibs amid a first-half blizzard and the visitors threatened four times in the final stages. But Rangers had looked comfortable either side of Alfredo Morelos netting with an emphatic finish in the 57th minute.

Maloney said: “Rangers were probably the better side for long parts but there were still some parts I really have to give our players credit for.

“Going 1-0 down really early, we regrouped defensively. We didn’t give up too many really big chances.

“The chances we create, and it sounds like I’m saying this a fair bit at the moment, it does change the dynamics of the game if we take them.

“The penalty (claim) was a big decision. That would have changed the dynamic too. But that’s done. At the time, I couldn’t quite see it. But, looking back, it’s quite clear it was a penalty.

“I know it’s difficult for referees with no VAR, mistakes can happen, but it was a clear penalty for me.”

Hibs remain without a league win in 2022 but were given a good reception by their fans after the game.

“They can see what the players are trying to do and also the effort they gave,” Maloney said. “It’s not the first time.

“We are finishing games strongly and creating chances. The difference in a lot of games recently is that other teams have been more clinical.

“But we can be better in possession. In the early part we gave up too much easy possession and allowed Rangers to attack us.

“We can be loads better at that. It was very difficult conditions, we can definitely go longer at that moment. We don’t always have to go short.

“But I always give the players the option to do both and let them feel it in the game. They have been really good at that at times so I can’t really criticise too much when they make the odd mistake.”

Rangers boss Giovanni Van Bronckhorst was happy with his side after they followed up Sunday’s 5-0 win over Hearts.

“We were good,” he said. “We started the game really well with the penalty and also some chances were created.

“We put a lot of energy into the game and a lot of pressure. We won a lot of balls in their half, especially in the first half, so the overall performance was really good.

“We created chances. It was 2-0 and we could have scored more, but the performance was really good and that was good for us because we needed the points.”

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