Hibs striker Grant Holt insists he can understand why head coach Neil Lennon lost his rag in the dugout after admitting that he was just as angry with the Spanish officials’ performance in the Europa League defeat to Brondby.
Former Celtic boss Lennon was sent to the stand by referee Juan Martinez Munuera after Jason Cummings’ equalising strike against the Danes was wrongly chopped off for offside.
Holt was also furious that he was not awarded a second half penalty after tumbling inside the area, and reckons Brondby midfielder Rudolph Austin was lucky not to pick up a second yellow card before the break.
Hibs failed to recover from goalkeeper Otso Virtanen’s blunder that gifted Brondby striker Kamil Wilczek a goal after just 16 seconds but experienced former Norwich City and Wigan marksman Holts admits the Leith side also did not get any breaks from the referee.
The 35-year-old said: “It’s a tough job refereeing but I think we’ve been harshly done by. I don’t think Jason Cummings’ goal is offside. Moments change games, we’re disappointed but I thought we were the better side.
“They don’t always get them right but I thought there were decisions; Austin got taken off after the handball in the middle of the park. Many a referee would have sent him off there and then and it was no coincidence that they subbed him off.
“The left back has gone through the back of Martin Boyle late on and he’s already been booked.
“The penalty is not given. He’s got to make a decision either way, if he doesn’t think it’s a penalty he has to come over and do me for simulation.
“As I said to him, I’ve got no reason to go down. I’ve got the ball past him, I’m on it to go and shoot so there’s no reason.”
Lennon claims he did nothing wrong on the touchline after protesting against the decision to disallow Cummings’ goal after 31 minutes but Holt insists the incident shows that the Northern Irishman has a wholehearted will to win.
He added: “He’ll never lose that, will he? He can’t help himself.
“He wants to win, he’s a winner. I’ve sat on the bench and I know you sit there you get frustrated watching the games and watching the officials.
“I don’t know what he said but it’s good to see as a group that we all want to win.
“Some decisions weren’t great and they didn’t help us but hopefully next week we’ll get a rub of the green.”
Hibs produced an encouraging performance after losing the early goal but lacked a cutting edge in the final third.
Holt, however, insists the tie is far from over as they prepare to head to Copenhagen for next Thursday’s second qualifying round return leg.
He added: “I think we can take massive heart into next week.
“I think they were surprised how good we were at times with the way we moved the ball. We didn’t dominate the whole game, they had spells too but they’re a good side.
“I thought at times if we had a little bit more quality we would have broken them down and got the chance.
“It’s another pre-season week and it gives us a chance to work on certain stuff, get the fitness in and keep getting better.”