Hibs manager Jack Ross hits back at dive jibes and 'excessive' criticism of Martin Boyle

Hibs manager Jack Ross has hit out at the barbs aimed at Martin Boyle over the weekend, saying some critics crossed a line.

The Easter Road forward earned his side a penalty as they fought back against Ross County and eventually overhauled the Highlanders’ lead to win the game.

It was a contentious spotkick, which was dissected by opposition manager John Hughes who accused the Australian striker of conning the officials, and later placed under the microscope by television pundits.

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But if they felt that award was soft, they all went further in condemning a second penalty appeal which was waved aside by referee John Beaton and could have resulted in a second yellow card of the game for Boyle.

Hibs manager Jack Ross (left) has defended Martin Boyle against accusations of cheating. Photo by Craig Williamson / SNS Group

“The last time I saw a dive like that the boy had Speedos on,” said Hughes, and his players and pundits agreed.

But the accusations of cheating, conning and diving went too far, according to Ross.

“I speak to Boyler all the time and he knows the levels of support he has got from me and my staff.

“I don’t accept for one second that he is a dirty player or some of the things people described him as at the weekend, far from it. I think some of what was said at the weekend was excessive, I really do.

“I don’t think it was an appropriate choice of language but that is down to individual choice and how those individuals speak but, for me, the speed that Martin moves at and the way he moves his body has to be factored in and also Martin has had some serious injuries and he wants to avoid contact, why wouldn’t he, so there are a lot of things that happen in real time and it is only when they are slowed down and looked at and looked at again that things appear more calculated, but that isn’t always accurate.”

And, he argued that if people want to shine such a bright light on Boyle’s actions in Dingwall, it is only fair that they show equal interest in the crimes perpetrated against the Hibs player.

“There are countless occasions this season where he could have gone down and some might say he should have but he didn’t. The thing is I’m fairly certain he is the second most fouled player in the Premiership this season. That tells its own story.

“He takes a lot of punishment in games but that doesn’t seem to be given the same amount of scrutiny on television or column inches.”

But, Ross said it is a sign of how far the club have come this term and he urged his players to respond positively.

“I think if a club is getting an excessive amount of criticism or stick it is usually because you are being successful and I want that for us as a club.

“I want us to be a club that is doing well and earning points and winning games and that others want to take pops at. I want us to foster the mentality that goes with being a winning team and a winning club. So I don’t mind people having pops if it helps foster that mentality and that togetherness where everyone pulls together and looks after each other.”

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