Inverness 1-1 Ross County: Hughes irked about penalty denial

Ross County's equaliser was not the most clear-cut of strikes
Ross County's equaliser was not the most clear-cut of strikes

Inverness Caledonian Thistle manager John Hughes is adamant his side deserved a penalty in the 1-1 draw with Ross County.

Gary Warren's own goal 14 minutes from time brought the Staggies level after Marley Watkins had given Caley Thistle a first-half lead.

But with the game evenly poised, Hughes insists that County goalkeeper Antonio Reguero clipped Watkins in the box.

"I felt we had a stone-wall penalty, I really do," he told BBC Scotland.

"A ball over the top and the ball's stuck in the mud. Their goalie was a wee bit hesitant and Marley Watkins has taken it past him and got clipped.

"He said he tried to stay on his feet, but when he made his second and third stride he wasn't in sync so couldn't stay on his feet. I just think the initial clip is a stone-wall penalty.

"All credit to Ross County, they're fighting for their lives and that showed in their performance. I'm just disappointed that we couldn't keep the back door shut after going a goal up.

County boss Jim McIntyre knows "every point is a prisoner"
County boss Jim McIntyre knows "every point is a prisoner"

"We could have defended their goal a little bit better, but a draw is probably a fair result."

With 10-goal striker Billy McKay now a Wigan player, Hughes hopes Watkins can make the most of having more of the goal-scoring responsibility.

The Englishman is now up to seven for the season.

"If it's Marley Watkins who takes on the mantle, then great," said Hughes. "If it's not, I'm still looking for one or two to say they can have a wee shot at that.

"We're also trying to bring one or two into the squad, but I'm very reluctant just to do it to make up the numbers."

Meanwhile, Ross County boss Jim McIntyre was at pains to point out that poor displays at times this season can be misinterpreted.

"We were questioned after losing to St Mirren and the Inverness defeat on New Year's Day because the performances were not good enough," he said.

"Sometimes people can get confused between the level of performance and whether players care. That is a load of rubbish. Every player cares and we showed that at Inverness.

"Every point is a prisoner. We are desperate for points. We were pushing for the three. You could see that."