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John Hughes warns Ross County might have to start diving to level the field

John Hughes file photo
(Image credit: Jeff Holmes)

Ross County manager John Hughes warned that his players might have to start diving in the box after being on the end of three contentious penalty decisions in the past three games.

Hughes felt Hibernian attacker Martin Boyle conned referee John Beaton for the penalty that allowed him to equalise in Dingwall on Saturday.

Boyle later escaped a second yellow card for what appeared to be a clear dive inside the box as Hibs went on to win the Scottish Premiership match 2-1.

County lost a point against St Mirren because of another soft award and held out for three points against Kilmarnock despite Kyle Lafferty’s spot-kick.

Hughes wants full-time referees in Scotland and is open to video assistance but he feels the Scottish Football Association should clamp down more heavily on simulation.

A player proven to have won a penalty or got someone sent off by diving can receive a two-match ban, but unsuccessful attempts at simulation cannot be punished retrospectively. And proving simulation depends on there being no contact at all.

Hughes said: “Even if I look back on Saturday, I have not got a finger of blame on Boyle. It’s part and parcel of the game.

“I don’t have finger of blame against John Beaton. I think he got conned and once he sees that, he will realise that. And he is the one that’s made to look stupid giving the penalty.

“I was a little bit disappointed he never took action on the other one but we need to help the refs.

“But there is something fundamentally not right in the Scottish game where guys are diving to seek an advantage, conning the referee and there’s no action done about it, because the powers-that-be will be seen as not backing the referee. Two wrongs can’t make a right.

“I can understand they don’t want to throw referees under the bus but they have to do what’s right for the Scottish game.

“And if the referee has made a mistake they have to hold their hands up. That way we can take action against the guys who are diving.

“Something has to be done for the greater good of Scottish football because these things can’t keep going on.”

Laughing, he added: “On saying that, if my guy dives on Saturday and we get a penalty then I’ll take it. As long as he’s got his Speedos on.

“If it’s part and parcel of the game, we have got to join the party. What are we going to do? If that’s the way the game is going, then you need to join the party. Simple.

“One thing I will never do, I’m an honest guy, and I will never coach it.”