Hibernian head coach Jack Ross admitted their league form was unacceptable after defeat by Ross County made it five consecutive losses in the cinch Premiership.
Hibs looked to have turned the corner with Sunday’s Premier Sports Cup semi-final win over Rangers but they fell to a 1-0 reverse in Dingwall following Blair Spittal’s 72nd-minute goal.
The County substitute saw his cross go straight in through a crowd of bodies after Hibs had missed a series of chances, notably through Kevin Nisbet.
Ross told BBC Radio Scotland’s Sportsound: “We are not on a good run in the league. It’s not acceptable for a club of our ambition and standing. We need to be better.
“I don’t think we were poor, I don’t think we were exceptional, I don’t think we necessarily deserved to lose.
“The only opportunities against us came late in the game when we were down to 10 men. Prior to that we were comfortable.
“First half, we created good opportunities and didn’t take them. Second half, we huffed and puffed and maybe ran out of a little bit of energy on the back of Sunday.
“The performance level was OK but it needs to be better than OK to win games and we need to get back to that as quickly as possible in the league.”
Ross will decide on Thursday whether to appeal against red cards for Christian Doidge, who appeared to rake his studs down the leg of David Cancola, and Martin Boyle, who was sent off for comments made towards referee Gavin Duncan after full-time.
Ross was yet to review Doidge’s red card for violent conduct but signalled Boyle disagreed with his own dismissal.
“I know it’s for something the referee said Martin said to him, which Martin says he didn’t,” Ross said. “It’s one person’s word against the other. Unfortunately, it usually seems to be the referee wins in that case.
“I think the language that was used is consistent but the way in which the language was directed was different. I think the referee believes it was directed towards him, while Martin’s opinion was it was an appraisal of his performance. Two very different things. We will see how we deal with that.
“If I feel we were hard done by, then we will protect the players. If it’s something we have done wrong, then we can’t do that. We have a tough enough month ahead without losing players, and important players.”
Ross County boss Malky Mackay was delighted to treat their supporters to a first home league win of the season.
“I’m a little frustrated we didn’t capitalise on the three or four fantastic chances to put the game to bed,” he added.
“But overall to a man I asked them at half-time to go out and give the same effort and energy. By doing that, it meant we got on the ball and it allowed us to play our football, which I knew was going to be good.”