Experienced striker Ross Campbell accepted his share of the blame for Montrose’s League Cup exit on Saturday after passing up an early opportunity to heap the pressure on Hibs.
The 32-year-old sprung the offside trap with just two minutes on the clock at Easter Road but was closed down swiftly by keeper Mark Oxley, with the pair clashing as the ball bounced to safety.
There were passionate pleas for a penalty kick from the visiting players, but they fell on deaf ears as referee John Beaton waved play on.
However, rather than lambast Mr Beaton, former East Fife and Forfar man Campbell, son of Loons boss Dick, accepted culpability for not being quicker off the mark to meet the through ball.
While an early goal would have truly set the cat among the pigeons, what progressed was a predictable triumph for the hosts, with Scott Martin, Scott Allan and Jason Cummings netting.
“I thought I could have made more of the chance if I had been sharper,” Campbell reflected. “Maybe I was concerned about being offside, but I was dis-appointed to be a bit slow off the mark.
“If we had got that early penalty then it would have been a massive benefit and could have made it a different game, but I’m not too sure it was. It didn’t stop me asking for it!
“I don’t think that’s the type of decision a team like Montrose is going to get at Easter Road unless it’s a stone-waller.”
Montrose were unfortunate to go in at the break in arrears. A moment’s lapse saw no-one track Martin as he collected an Alex Harris pass inside the box and the 18-year-old showed fine composure to slot home his first goal for Hibs.
Cummings and Stanton both went close for the hosts as Montrose keeper Ross Salmon excelled in the capital.
And it took until the 71st minute for Alan Stubbs’ side to finally put their stubborn visitors to bed and it was a familiar face to Montrose gaffer Paul Hegarty who did the damage.
Allan, who played under Hegarty during one of his stints as first-team coach at Tannadice, picked up the ball on the left flank and drifted in-field before lashing a wonderful right-footed drive beyond Salmon.
“I know Scotty well from my United days,” Hegarty smiled ruefully. “It didn’t surprise me to see what he did he’s a quality player and everyone knows that.”
Gloss was applied in the closing stages when Cummings latched on to a Liam Fontaine cross and fired a low shot into the bottom-corner from eight yards.