BY ALAN TEMPLE – @CCP_Sport
HIBERNIAN head coach has lamented ‘unprofessional’ goalkeeping from Ofir Marciano after his blunder allowed Rangers to claim a smash-and-grab triumph at Easter Road.
The Israel internationalist was beaten at his near-post by Alfredo Morelos on the cusp of half-time, with the Colombian striker turning Paul Hanlon inside-out before smashing home a powerful drive from a prohibitive angle.
Lennon reckons the strike, which proved to be the winner in a breathless contest in the capital, was eminently preventable and accused Marciano of guessing where the ball was going to go, rather than standing tall and making the block.
He also question Marciano’s part in Josh Windass’ leveller, which arrowed into the net despite not being directed into the corner.
“I think Ofir needs to do better with both the goals, he knows that,” said Lennon. “I think he has just guessed for the second one. That’s unprofessional from him.
“There was maybe a lack of concentration from us before half-time. We should really be coming in at 1-1. The equaliser is a good hit but I don’t think it is going in the corner.
“However, the second goal is really preventable from our point of view, firstly from Paul [Hanlon] maybe not diving in and certainly from Ofir gambling. You can’t do that at this level. If he stands up, then he saves it.”
While Lennon acknowledged his sides’ failing at the back, he was delighted with the overall display as Hibs struck the post twice and were denied a late penalty-kick when David Bates handled the ball in the box.
He reserved particular praise for Manchester City loan star Brandon Barker, who replaced Oli Shaw after 50 minutes and proceeded to torment the Gers backline.
“It’s the best I’ve seen him,” Lennon told Hibs TV. “He had a niggle before the game, and we wanted to freshen things up, but he came on and was sensational in the second half and so unlucky to hit the post twice.
“The first one goes across the line, bounces out, then he beats the keeper all ends up and it hits the post again. It just wasn’t to be.”