Australia’s Martin Boyle was sent off following Hibernian’s 1-0 loss to Ross County on Wednesday just days after his hat-trick sent the Edinburgh club into the Scottish League Cup final.
Boyle’s brilliant treble was the centrepiece of Hibs’ 3-1 semi-final win over Rangers at Hampden Park on Sunday that secured an appearance in next month’s final against Celtic, the other half of Glasgow’s Old Firm.
But it was a different story on Wednesday as Hibs suffered a fifth consecutive loss in the Scottish Premiership.
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Blair Dingwall’s 72nd-minute goal separated the teams at Dingwall after the substitute’s cross evaded everyone before finding the back of the net.
To make matters worse for Hibs they had Christian Doidge sent off after he appeared to rake his studs down the leg of David Cancola, with Boyle seeing red for comments made towards referee Gavin Duncan after full-time.
“I know it’s for something the referee said Martin said to him, which Martin says he didn’t,” Hibs manager Jack Ross told BBC Radio.
“It’s one person’s word against the other. Unfortunately, it usually seems to be the referee wins in that case.
“I think the referee believes it was directed towards him, while Martin’s opinion was it was an appraisal of his performance,” he added.
“Two very different things. We will see how we deal with that.”
Boyle had six goals in eight league games prior to the clash, and 16 goals for club and country this season.
In the meantime, Ross said there was no excuse for Hibs’s league form.
“We are not on a good run in the league. It’s not acceptable for a club of our ambition and standing,” said Ross.
“We need to be better … The performance level was OK but it needs to be better than OK to win games and we need to get back to that as quickly as possible in the league.” Ross County manager Malky Mackay was delighted by his side’s first home league win of the season.
“Overall to a man I asked them at half-time to go out and give the same effort and energy,” he said. “By doing that, it meant we got on the ball and it allowed us to play our football, which I knew was going to be good.”