Hibernian went into this game without a win since the opening day of the season. Having surrendered winning positions from their last 4 league games, they sat 11th and in desperate need of a win to rid their early season blues and kick on in the campaign. Ross county sat 6th but were looking to bounce back after a 6-0 thrashing by current leaders Celtic.
Hibs started the first half on the front foot, striking the crossbar early on from a 25 yard Hallberg free-kick. 20 minutes later, a low strike from Kamberi inside the box was well saved by Laidlaw before a superb Ross Draper block sent Josh Velas shot wide. Hibs had the majority of possession in the first half, but a lack of creativity in the final third meant that the teams went into half time level.
The second half proved different for both teams. Hibs again started brightly, getting a goal in the 49th minute after a neat pass from Naismith put Daryl Horgan in space who kept his composure and placed it into the bottom left corner. Despite pressure from Ross County, Hibs managed to find the back of the net again. Josh Vela won the ball back on the halfway and threaded it through to Allan, who dribbled across the box and buried in the bottom left corner. Hibs 2-0 up at home with half an hour to play, seemed in control and likely to win. However, Ross County were allowed to wander up the field, feeding Brian Graham who spun the defender with ease and finessed it into the top right corner. Graham should have made it 2-2 moments later, after he glanced a free header wide. Easter Road were increasingly getting more frustrated as Hibs sat back and allowed County to enjoy easy possession. In the 89th minute, County levelled through a 25-yard wonder strike from Joe Chalmers. Chalmers was allowed acres off space giving him time to line up his shot and find the bottom right corner. County looked the more likely to win it at the end having all the possession, but it was not to be. The match finished 2-2, with Hibs fans calling for Heckingbottom’s head at the final whistle.
Hibs 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."
Hibs remain 11th on 8 points whereas County sit 6th on 13 points. Heckingbottom’s time at Easter Road appears to be running out as fans voice their anger, having now not won in 9 league games. The steel that characterised the Neil Lennon era and early days of Heckingbottom seems to have gone. The lack of quality signings in the summer are beginning to show.
Hibs face Livingston at home next week in a must-win game. Ross county will have to endure the tough test of Rangers at home.
Report by Matt Green.