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Ross County defender Leo Hjelde believes St Mirren forward was guilty of simulation

Ross County's Leo Hjelde  at full time during the Scottish Premiership match between St Mirren and Ross County.
Ross County's Leo Hjelde at full time during the Scottish Premiership match between St Mirren and Ross County.

Ross County defender Leo Hjelde believes St Mirren forward Collin Quaner was guilty of simulation in the penalty incident which secured the Buddies’ 1-0 victory on Saturday.

Quaner went to ground easily as he ran at Hjelde in the latter stages of the game, with referee Greg Aitken awarding a spot-kick which Jamie McGrath tucked home.

Staggies manager John Hughes felt Aitken had been conned by Quaner, with Saints boss Jim Goodwin saying he will be prepared to take action against the German forward if he is found to have dived.

On-loan Celtic player Hjelde is adamant he made no contact with the player, with the 17-year-old hoping the Staggies can channel their frustrations into their eight remaining Premiership matches.

County remain 10th, but host a Kilmarnock side just a point behind them in a crucial encounter on Saturday.

Hjelde said: “I haven’t seen it back yet but in the moment I felt it was a simulation. I felt that I didn’t even touch him, but that’s the referee’s decision.

“The boys were devastated that he gave the penalty but there is nothing we can do about it once he blows his whistle.

“We need to try and pick up points but we didn’t get them here.

“We have to use that as motivation and look towards the next game. It was difficult but there is nothing we can do about it now.

“It is a huge game now next week against Kilmarnock and hopefully we can get the three points. We have been creating chances and we just need to put them in the net. If we do then that I am quite confident we can win the next few games.”

Ross County’s Leo Hjelde.

Despite the defeat, Norwegian Hjelde says he is enjoying the experience he is gaining during his loan stint in Dingwall.

He added: “My time so far at Ross County has been very good. The boys have brought me in and made me feel very welcome in the group. I have also had a good amount of game time too so I have really enjoyed it.

“This will hopefully put me in a better position to go back and try to play football at Celtic. That is what my goal is and all the minutes I get here will help me.

“Every game I get just now is a bonus for me. You don’t see a lot of 17-year-olds playing in the Scottish Premiership so I am looking to make the most of this experience.

“First-team football has been different but I feel like I am keeping up with it. Physically it can be difficult, especially if you are playing against guys at 6 foot 5 but you have to learn to play around that and be a bit more streetwise. That will come.

“I like to be on the ball and try and create things to but my main priority always has to be defending. Getting this experience will hopefully be a benefit when I go back to Celtic.”

Kristoffer Ajer.

Hjelde takes inspiration from the pathway of his fellow countryman Kristoffer Ajer, who enjoyed a loan stint with Killie before breaking into the Hoops’ first team.

He added: “Kristoffer Ajer is a very good player and he had a career path like me too.

“He had played more games by the time that he came to Scotland but he is someone that I definitely look up to.

“I keep in contact with him still. He has been very good to me and he still gets in touch and gives me advice.”

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