Jack Ross insists Hibernian will travel to Croatia with confidence next week despite being held to a 1-1 draw by Rijeka at Easter Road.
Prince Ampem headed the visitors ahead on the hour mark in the first leg of their Europa Conference League third qualifier but Martin Boyle levelled six minutes later with a close-range finish.
The home side could not turn their pressure into more goals against the Croatian league leaders but the Hibs boss said: “It was a good game and I thought we were excellent.
“The only frustration is the end result because I felt we deserved to win the game with the chances we created.
“I was delighted with our performance level and I want the players to use it as a barometer to gauge themselves against them.
“We will travel next week with confidence and belief that we can win the tie.
“Coming into the game we stressed to the players that you can get spooked a little bit by what country a team comes from.
“They are a good side but we come up against good sides in Scotland. It was good for us to see them at first hand.
“And I think we showed with our performance level that we are a good side and we carry a threat.
“I expect us to do that in Croatia as well.”
Hibs could have come away with a victory had substitute Dan Mackay not hit an injury-time chance straight at Rijeka keeper Nediljko Labrovic.
Ross said: “I think that’s the one. It was a big chance but Dan gets himself in those positions often, he’s a young man who can be hard on himself for not taking it.
“But he gets in good positions and he needs to keep doing that.
“That chance catches the eye given the stage of the game but over the course of the game we had a lot of good opportunities.
“I think we have started the season well with individual players in good form.
“But it’s a strange feeling not winning the first leg but it would be very difficult to complain about any part of the performance.”
Rijeka boss Goran Tomic is equally confident of coming through the tie.
He said: “The tie is still open but we can be much better in all aspects of football.
“I was not surprised by the quality of Hibs because we had them watched.
“I felt our defence was compact tonight but our attack must be better.
“Hibs are a good team and it will be tough but we will be at home in front of our fans and I believe we can go through.”
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