Jack Ross saw his side take a step towards the next round of Europa Conference League qualifying with a 3-0 win over Santa Coloma but was left questioning the refereeing in what he thought was an “eventful” match.
Martin Boyle scored twice and Kevin Nisbet completed the scoring in a game that saw Joe Newell sent off in the first half and the Andorran side reduced to nine men in the second.
Newell’s dismissal, after Hibs had taken the lead through a Boyle penalty, saw the hosts lose their stride for a while and Ross believes the controversial decision affected his players. He was pleased to see them regain their footing in the match after the break and go on to a comfortable victory.
“It was eventful,” he said. “The first 20 minutes goes to plan, scoring, then of course the officiating is questionable not just in that period but through the course of the game.
“I think when we went a man down we were spooked by it and didn’t respond particularly well in that period but getting in at half-time unscathed was important.
“Changing the system at half-time was affirmation of the players still being good players and that doesn’t change when you go down to 10 men.
“I know the game changes again with the other sendings off, but before that we looked a better side again and the players deserved credit for that, for responding, as we had that period when we lost that little bit of composure but regained it well.”
Newell was sent off after blocking the ball when there appeared to be no contact with an opposition player and though he didn’t see the incident clearly Ross felt it was indicative of the standard of refereeing throughout.
“I haven’t seen it but my staff have and they’re all in agreement it wasn’t a red card.” he said. “I think there was even people doubting whether it was a yellow.”I think it went hand in hand with how the game had started from an officiating point of view.”
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