Jack Ross defends Martin Boyle after Hibs striker accused of 'conning' referee by Ross County boss John Hughes

Hibs boss Jack Ross has defended Martin Boyle after Ross County manager John Hughes accused the forward of conning referee John Beaton in the 2-1 victory over the Staggies in Dingwall.

Hibs' Martin Boyle scores a penalty to help his side on the way to victory over Ross County. Photo by Alan Harvey / SNS Group

The Australian striker converted a penalty just a minute after Billy Mckay had given the home side the lead but former Easter Road player and manager Hughes claims the referee was conned.

“I felt Boyle played for the penalty, I felt he went into him,” he argued. “The last time I saw a dive like that the boy had Speedos on and I’m expecting better from John Beaton to see what was up, but he only gets one look at it. He pointed to the spot.”

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Ross saw it differently, however.

“I don’t think he conned the referee. I’ve seen it. He turns the wrong side of the defenders. I thought it was a penalty. People will have different opinions but I certainly don’t think he dived.”

Aggrieved Ross County defender Alex Iacovitti approached the in-form striker, who has netted six goals in his last seven games, at full-time, while the dismayed Hughes had words with the referee.

“Then there was a tackle on Leo [Hjelde] when Boyle got booked and then he dived again on the far side but John decided not to take any action because it would have been a second yellow and a red,” added Hughes. “That’s what I was talking to him about at the end. I said: ‘You need to see it, that’s what you get paid for and we expect better than that’.

Having managed to quickly restore parity, third-placed Hibs went on to win the match thanks to substitute Kevin Nisbet’s first goal since mid-January.

It leaves them six points clear of fourth-placed Aberdeen with six games remaining.

“What we’ve not been brilliant at this season is coming from behind in games so, to do that, with the reaction we showed, is pleasing,” Ross.

“The whole lead up to the game has been about this being the biggest game of the season for us. That’s how we treated it as players and staff.

“We didn’t want to downplay it in any way as our game in hand. But now the next one becomes the biggest game. There’s still a lot to do.”

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