Caley Thistle midfielder Liam Polworth laid bare the anger felt at the controversial penalty award to St Mirren that turned the Premiership game at the Caledonian Stadium on Saturday.
After Inverness had dominated the first period, referee John McKendrick infuriated the home contingent early in the second half by penalising a Polworth challenge on Kyle Magennis inside the box.
Polworth and Inverness manager John Robertson, who cited video evidence, were convinced the official got it badly wrong.
Ian McShane tucked away the penalty to give the Buddies the lead. Gavin Reilly made it 2-0 in added time.
But before that, things had got worse for Caley Jags when they went down to 10 men after Iain Vigurs was sent off for a second bookable offence – again stirring a sense of home injustice. Vigurs received his second yellow after remonstrating furiously with an opponent but Caley Thistle felt the issuing of his first yellow had been grossly unfair.
Inverness could be forgiven for feeling even more hard-done by when Buddies keeper Craig Samson escaped with only a booking after reacting to the second incident by racing 12 yards to shove Vigurs to ground. But for Polworth, it was the penalty award that inflicted the biggest sense of injustice.
He said: “We feel very aggrieved. I thought our performance was really good and we had a lot of chances we didn’t put away.
“We got done by something outwith our control. I thought it was a terrible decision. It should never have been a penalty and we were up against it after that.
“Their player was trying to bump into me and he has hit off me as I was trying to take the ball off him. Somehow, the referee has seen fit to point to the penalty spot.
“There is nothing we can do about it now. We just have to pick it up and go again in Tuesday’s match against Brechin.”
Caley Thistle are 14 points off first place and 13 behind St Mirren after a weekend in which they had hoped to make inroads into the cushion enjoyed by the leading clubs.
Defeat came after a run of seven games unbeaten and 708 minutes without losing a goal. With the rescheduled Brechin game in Inverness tomorrow, Polworth is hopeful his team can quickly rebuild momentum.