NEIL LENNON’S frustration was palpable. Already trying to comprehend how goalkeeper Otso Virtanen managed to gift-wrap what proved to be the winning goal after only 16 seconds, the Hibernian head coach was ordered to the stand by Spanish referee Juan Martinez Munueara for remonstrating after Jason Cummings had a "legitimate" 31st-minute goal ruled out for offside.

Hibs fans had barely taken their seats when Brondby went ahead.

Virtanen – the 22-year-old Finn making his full competitive debut – dropped Martin Albrechtsen’s tame effort from the edge of the box and Kamil Wilczek reacted to scoop a left-footed shot past the grounded keeper from close range.

The shot-stopper thumped the ground in frustration after blowing his big chance to impress.

But the outfield ten got over that bitter disappointment and delivered a performance that will give the Leith side encouragement that they can salvage this Europa League second qualifying round tie when they travel to the outskirts of Copenhagen for next Thursday’s return leg.

Cummings had a shot saved before Darren McGregor’s back post header hit the side netting.

Then came the aforementioned Cummings goal that had the Hibs fans on their feet, albeit temporarily.

“We had a legitimately perfect, brilliant goal disallowed,” said Lennon. "He’s onside and I was angry because, firstly, he got it wrong, and he wasn’t up with play.

“I remonstrated with the linesman and was sent off for no reason whatsoever.”

Hibs continued to press in the second half without creating any clear cut chances. They also had to be wary of a Brondby side that were keen to strike on the counter-attack.

“The tie is in the balance but we know we have to go there and score,” added Lennon.

“It’s going to be really difficult. We will be a week fitter, which we’ll benefit from. The belief is there as well that we can get something out of the tie.”