Nick Montgomery encouraged by Hibernian display despite blowing two-goal lead
New Hibernian boss Nick Montgomery insists there are plenty of positives to take despite watching his side throw away a two-goal lead in a 2-2 draw with Kilmarnock at Rugby Park.
An unfortunate own-goal by goalkeeper Will Dennis handed the visitors the lead after eight minutes before Dylan Vente’s strike doubled Hibs’ lead.
It looked as if Montgomery’s reign at Easter Road was set to get off to the perfect start, but a half-hour capitulation saw them pegged back as Kilmarnock earned a dramatic point.
Kyle Vassell pulled one back from close-range just minutes after Vente notched his third goal of the season, before Joe Wright completed the turnaround as he headed home Danny Armstrong’s inside the six-yard box.
Montgomery said: “It’s obviously frustrating to go 2-0 up away from home and not win but I thought the boys played some really good stuff as it’s not an easy place to come.
“I thought we could have probably killed the game off in the first-half as we had some very good chances and their keeper pulled off some good saves and when we conceded the first one it gave them a bit of momentum.
“It’s disappointing not to take full points but credit to Kilmarnock as they showed real fight.
“It was a real team effort, including the boys that came off the bench, who looked very dangerous. We could look back at the end of the season and realise it was a good point but just now it’s a difficult one to take.
“It’s not been easy to cram everything in within the space of a week, but the boys have been very receptive. What I have learned is that there are great staff here and the squad is very strong.
“We’ve got competition for places all over the pitch and that’s what you need. They took a lot of information on board this week and I thought they were very brave, created some good stuff and were backed on by the fans who were outstanding today.
“I’m a little bit tired and have been jet-lagged for the first couple of days.
“Everybody has been very welcoming as have the players, fans, and staff as well.
“I’ve bumped into a lot of people while wandering around and have had people coming up and wishing me well. It’s now my job to give them all something back and get the team playing well.”
Kilmarnock boss Derek McInnes felt his side should have defended better in the build-up to Hibernian’s second.
He said: “It’s quite a quiet dressing room down there to be honest and it feels like an opportunity missed.
“When you’re 2-0 down with so little time to go, the response was everything you want and what supporters want to see. Everybody gave that wee bit more and that’s what you call team spirit.
“I thought the second goal came against the run of play a wee bit as we started the second-half well and were a bit braver and tried to minimise the influence of (Martin) Boyle and (Elie) Youan as those boys don’t need any encouragement to influence a game.
“The second goal killed us, it was an absolutely ridiculous goal to lose from a throw-in. If we defended that situation better we could have won the game, but these players are everything that I want my team to be.
“I’m really pleased with how we finished the game and I think that’s always important.”
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