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John Hughes "bitterly disappointed" at penalty call in St Mirren defeat

John Hughes felt referee Greg Aitken was "conned" by Collin Quaner.

Ross County manager John Hughes pointed the finger of blame at referee Greg Aitken as his side went down 1-0 at St Mirren.

Aitken awarded the home side a penalty nine minutes from time after County defender Leo Hjelde appeared to foul Saints substitute Collin Quaner in the box and Jamie McGrath converted for the only goal of the game.

Hughes felt Quaner had dived and argued that the referee had to get those decisions right with his team embroiled in a relegation battle.

He said: "We're bitterly disappointed. With what's at stake and boys playing for livelihoods, you're wanting these decisions to be correct.

"Who would be a ref? But he gets paid and he needs to make it spot on. I wish it was my team getting that award. If that's where the game has gone maybe we're too honest as a team.

"Once the ref sees it he'll know he's been conned so it's up to the authorities to do something about that."

St Mirren manager Jim Goodwin agreed that the award was soft but felt his team ought to have had a penalty in the first half when Joe Shaughnessy was caught by Keith Watson's elbow.

He said: "I don't think it was a dive as Collin has got the wrong side of the defender. But it was soft, no doubt.

"I've made my opinions clear on penalties given against us. So I'm not going to try to pull the wool over people's eyes and say it was a stonewaller.

"But that's the way the game is going and if we don't do something about it that's what happens. I don't think it was simulation, there was slight contact. Was there enough to make the big man go over? I'll have to have a look.

"If you ask which is more of a pen then I'd suggest Joe's is more. He has a peach of a black eye after being clearly smashed in the face.

"He took a really bad bang on the side of the head but that's not why he came off. He felt his calf tightening up but hopefully that settles down."

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