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Ross County boss John Hughes will not play the role of culprit for SFA

John Hughes.
John Hughes.

Ross County manager John Hughes accepts he may have gone too far with his comments about refereeing decisions against his club this season but insists he was forced to speak out.

Hughes has received a notice of complaint from the SFA after criticising decisions which have gone against his club this season and called for reform of officiating in Scotland.

The Staggies manager is not surprised to find himself in the dock with the authorities but has no regrets.

He said: “The question I want to ask is why did the compliance officer take no action? I need to stand up for my club and my team. St Mirren and Hibs were never penalties, they were game changers.

“Who’s accountable? You are looking to the compliance officer to take action and now I go from being the victim to being the culprit which I don’t think is right.

“Enough is enough. I’d had five penalties against me, three of which were 50-50 but the Hibs and St Mirren ones? No chance. My boys are looking at me with bemusement. I cannot take it back. I’ve said what I’ve said.

“I’ve been in the game for 40 years and if no action is taken I need to stand up for my club. I probably do have a case to answer but right now I’m focused on the St Mirren game.”

Hughes labelled some officials as unapproachable and joked some referees need to “take a notch off your jockstrap” in a colourful assessment of the relationship between managers and those in charge during a game.

He hopes his language is not used against him.

He said:  “I probably say it in everyday banter and I’m hoping they look at that. I talk football language. ‘Take a notch off your jockstrap’, I use that every week.”

Hibernian’s Martin Boyle claims for a second penalty during the Scottish Premiership match between Ross County and Hibs last month.

Hughes will learn his fate next Thursday, April 29 but for now his focus is on trying to keep the Staggies in the Premiership.

Jim Goodwin’s side head north tomorrow and Hughes hopes his side can earn a much needed first win against the Saints this season at Victoria Park.

He said: “The big concern is it has been 10 days since the Kilmarnock game but we’ve kept them at it.

“It won’t be easy. We’re up against a St Mirren team we haven’t beaten this season and Jim has a good side there. If we’re going to stay in this league we need wins. It’s all to play for and we’re up for it.

“We’re all in it together. The attitude and commitment has been fantastic and I can’t ask for any more but it is fine margins in football. A wee bit of quality or a mistake can cost you.

“The consistency has been a little bit frustrating for the effort is there and bringing it together on a matchday when it matters is what we’re trying to do.

“We’re looking to the players to encourage and embrace it.”

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