Soccer

Hibernian pegged back by Ross County after Jair Tavares strike

Jair Tavares, left, scored his first Hibs goal against Ross County (Jane Barlow/PA)
Jair Tavares, left, scored his first Hibs goal against Ross County (Jane Barlow/PA) Jair Tavares, left, scored his first Hibs goal against Ross County (Jane Barlow/PA)

Jair Tavares scored his first goal for Hibernian but it was not enough to secure victory as Ross County fought back from 2-0 down to claim a 2-2 draw in a dramatic cinch Premiership match at Easter Road.

The 22-year-old Portuguese winger has enjoyed a new lease of life under recently-installed manager Nick Montgomery and he appeared to have the Hibees on course for a win that would have lifted them into the top half of the table when he added to Elie Youan’s deflected first-half strike.

But an own goal from Allan Delferriere and a superb finish by substitute Jordan White in the closing 20 minutes earned County a third successive away draw.

Hibs boss Montgomery made four changes to the side that started Saturday’s 0-0 draw at home to Celtic. Goalkeeper Jojo Wollacott came in for his first league appearance, with David Marshall dropping to the bench, while Jordan Obita, Joe Newell and Martin Boyle made way for Lewis Stevenson, Dylan Levitt and Adam Le Fondre.

County made two alterations to the team that drew 3-3 at Motherwell last weekend as Ben Purrington and Kyle Turner replaced George Harmon and Yan Dhanda.

Hibs threatened in the 11th minute when Youan got in behind and crossed from the right, forcing James Brown to clear over his own crossbar as Dylan Vente raced in to try and connect on the edge of the six-yard box.

Another County defender had to make an important intervention 11 minutes later when Ryan Leak blocked Tavares’ shot from a Youan cutback after an excellent build-up down the right.

The Staggies almost took the lead with their first notable foray into the Hibs box in the 25th minute when Turner flashed a ferocious angled shot just beyond the far post after Simon Murray laid Brown’s pass off into his path.

At the other end, Le Fondre saw a powerful low shot from the edge of the box run agonisingly wide of Ross Laidlaw’s left-hand post.

Hibs made the breakthrough in the 42nd minute when Youan’s shot from just outside the box deflected off Purrington and eluded Laidlaw.

And the hosts looked to be well on their way to securing the three points eight minutes into the second half when Tavares received a pass from Levitt and drove forward before sending a firm right-footed shot beyond Laidlaw from the edge of the box.

The goal was allowed to stand following a VAR check for offside, much to the delight of the former Benfica winger whose Hibs career appeared to have petered out following a difficult first season in Scotland.

Staring down the barrel of defeat, County found some resistance in the closing stages. They pulled one back in the 74th minute when Hibs substitute Delferriere inadvertently turned the ball into his own net after Wollacott failed to deal with a cross from substitute Dhanda.

And the Staggies left the home support exasperated in the 82nd minute when White spun in the box and fired high into the net after excellent work by Murray on the right to set him up.