NEIL LENNON insisted Hibs didn’t deserve to lose 1-0 to Dundee United in the top-of-the table showdown at Tannadice last night.
And the Easter Road boss is adamant the defeat won’t derail his team’s Championship title bid.
The Edinburgh side had the chance to go six points clear, but are now level with the Tayside outfit after a match defined by two penalties which went the way of the hosts.
With the game goalless, Hibs striker Martin Boyle had a 54th-minute spot-kick saved by Cammy Bell and then United attacker Tony Andreu won it with a penalty 13 minutes from the end.
Lennon claimed: “We didn’t deserve to lose the game. I didn’t think we were at our best in the first-half, but after the interval we were in the ascendancy.
“The game hinged on two penalties. At 0-0, anything can happen. I didn’t think we deserved to lose, so it’s a sore one.”
Boyle’s kick was easily blocked by Bell. The striker, who had scored four goals in his previous four games, won the award after being fouled by Lewis Toshney, but had to negotiate with strike partner Grant Holt to decide who should take it.
Lennon added: “Boyle was designated last week, so he was on them. Grant missed the last one. Whether it put Martin off, I don’t know, but he has been hitting them alright in the week.
“However, he didn’t hit it well enough on this occasion. That one got away. When we missed the penalty, it gave United a lift.”
Hibs are now top of the league only on goal difference from a United side who are unbeaten in 11 games in all competitions since September.
Lennon is confident his side won’t be knocked off course by only their second defeat of the league campaign.
The Irishman added: “We are still top but it’s a game we felt we could have extended our lead. We’ll come again. We’ll get back on track, no question about that.”
United gaffer Ray McKinnon said: “We’re delighted to be up there, joint top of the league now, but nothing is won in December.
“We need to bring in players in January to keep the team moving along the way we want it to go.”
McKinnon also paid tribute to keeper Bell after his seventh penalty save, including shoot-outs.
He added: “Cammy’s a fantastic goalkeeper – we were absolutely delighted to get him. We can’t expect him to keep saving penalties because the law of averages means someone is going to score.
“Cammy saved their penalty and we scored our penalty, that’s what it came down to in the end.”