Jack Ross has labelled Rangers’ Public Enemy No.1 Ryan Porteous “brilliant” and insisted he didn’t even deserve to be booked for his clash with Alfredo Morelos.
The Hibs centre-back found himself slap bang in the middle of a post-match storm following Sunday’s explosive draw with Steven Gerrard ’s side.
Porteous was first booked in the first half for an off-the-ball block on Morelos before being accused by Ibrox skipper James Tavernier of being a ‘bad loser’ after blanking him at full-time.
Morelos and Rangers boss Gerrard also refused to shake hands with the 21-year-old Easter Road star at the end of a feisty encounter.
Gerrard insisted Porteous’ accusation was ‘cheap’ considering his red card in the fixture in December for a lunge on Borna Barisic when Hibs were 3-0 behind.
But despite some observers claiming Porteous should have been more heavily punished by referee Don Robertson for his clash with Morelos, Ross has argued the booking may actually have been undeserved.
And the Hibs boss believes all the talk surrounding the Scotland under-21 cap, who earned a maiden full call-up for the Euro 2020 qualifiers against Cyprus and Kazakhstan last November, should instead focus on just how far he can go in the game.
Ross said: “He was brilliant again and that’s how he’s played all season.
“His level of consistency has been terrific, he defended brilliantly and he showed composure at times.
“He’s been cautioned in the game, which is debatable, and certainly nothing worthy of comment, because it was nothing.
“The focus and highlights should be accentuating the positives that he’s shown this season, and he’s shown lots of them.
“And if he continues to do that over a prolonged period then he will fulfil all his ambitions in the game.
“So, I’m delighted with him and pleased for him, individually, because he’s a really good boy as well.”
Meanwhile, Ross has hailed the influence of stalwart Lewis Stevenson, who on Monday celebrated the 15th anniversary of his debut for the club.
The 32-year-old has made just three substitute’s appearances so far this season after being replaced in the starting line-up by 18-year-old Josh Doig.
But Ross was full of praise for the dependable defender after his half-hour outing against Rangers as he saluted his consistency.
He added on Hibs TV: “Lewis was brilliant when he came on. He has trained brilliantly, we’ve had some behind-closed-doors games and he’s been excellent.
“I’m delighted for him that he contributed and made a very good contribution, in terms of us getting something from the game. I think it’s fitting.
“He would obviously have liked to have started the game and scored and done all these things.
“But I think he showed why he’s been such an asset to Hibs for so many years. So I’m really pleased for him, individually.”
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