Martin Boyle of Australia was sent off in Hibernian’s 1-0 loss to Ross County on Wednesday, just days after his hat-trick propelled the Edinburgh club to the Scottish League Cup final.
Boyle’s treble was the highlight of Hibs’ 3-1 semi-final win over Rangers at Hampden Park on Sunday, securing a spot in the final against Celtic, the other half of Glasgow’s Old Firm, next month.
But it was a different story on Wednesday when Hibs lost for the fifth time in a row in the Scottish Premiership.
Blair Spittal’s 72nd-minute goal at Dingwall separated the teams after the substitute’s cross evaded everyone before finding the back of the net.
To make matters worse for Hibs, Christian Doidge was sent off after appearing to rake his studs down David Cancola’s leg, and Boyle was sent off 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 denies,” Hibs manager Jack Ross told BBC Radio.
“It’s one person’s word versus another’s. Unfortunately, it appears that the referee usually wins in that situation.
“I believe the referee believes it was directed at him, whereas Martin believes it was an evaluation of his performance,” he added.
“Two completely different things. We’ll see how we handle that.”
Meanwhile, Ross has stated that Hibs’ league form is not to be excused.
“We’re not having a good season in the league. “It’s not acceptable for a club with our ambition and standing,” Ross said.
“We must improve… The performance level was adequate, but it needed to be better than adequate in order to win games, and we need to return to that level as soon as possible in the league.”
Ross County manager Malky Mackay was overjoyed with his team’s first home league victory of the season.
“Overall, at halftime, I asked them to go out and give the same effort and energy,” he said. “By doing so, we got the ball and were able to play our football, which I knew was going to be good.”