Neil Lennon believes that Hibs’ Europa League qualifying tie is in the balance after last night’s 0-0 draw with Molde at Easter Road.
Hibs’ keeper Ross Laidlaw didn’t have one save to make whilst his opposite number Andreas Linde performed heroics to deny Stevie Mallan, David Gray and Emerson Hydman as Hibs pressed for a goal.
This was Hibs second clean sheet in a row however and Lennon was quick to mention the contribution of youngster Ryan Porteous who is continuing to impress and the outstanding Efe Ambrose who never put a foot wrong all night.
He also paid tribute to Stevie Mallan who was unlucky not to score with several long-range efforts.
Hibs travel to Molde next week but may have to face teenage star Erling Braut Haaland, the son of former Manchester City player Alf-Inge Haaland. The striker left the team’s Edinburgh hotel at 4am on Thursday morning to fly to Austria where he signed big money deal with Salzburg.
It is understood that the clubs are in negotiation to loan the player back to Molde for the remainder of the season.
After the final whistle Lennon said: “It was a good game. The only disappointment is we do not take the lead over there with us, but we got a clean sheet and played maturely.
“We were unlucky. Their keeper made a few saves and they knew how to take the sting out of the game. There wasn’t a lot in it.
“We have to score over there, but Molde have to score too, and while 0-0 can be a positive or a negative, we look like a team that can score.
“Can we score over there? I’m confident we can. I don’t see why we can’t score.
“The game was in the balance and we looked like the team most likely to score.
“There were some really good individual performances out there. “I thought Mallan was outstanding, he was so unlucky not score with a tremendous effort off the bar. Ambrose and Porteous were too.
“But from where we are in terms of being at the start of the season we are still in the tie, so I’m pleased.
“We will need to defend well and pick our moments, but I don’t want us to go over there and defend.
“Molde will have more of the ball over there.
“Their rotation of the ball is good. We looked like we flagged a bit at the end but that is understandable given the difference in match games between the teams.
“We’ll be a week fitter. We’ve scored in Greece and we did it in Brondby. We’ll have to defend well and pick our moments.
“We’re novices at this level but we handled the game very maturely. We just lacked that little bit of oomph.
“We could have done a bit more in the final third at times but I’m not disappointed at all.”
“He’s (Emerson Hyndman) got creativity. He picks the right pass and he was unlucky not to win us the game, and that was all in 15 minutes.
“Adam Bogdan may be fit for Sunday but will definitely be available for next week. Darren McGregor will be out for a couple of weeks.”
“We are inching forward to where we want to be. We’re in the hunt for two new players and we will see what happens over the coming days.”
Hibs face St Johnstone on Sunday in Perth.