Manager Richie Foran says a linesman's decision "killed" bottom club Inverness in their costly 4-2 Scottish Premiership defeat by Motherwell.
Foran was incensed by the award of Well's third goal, with Scott McDonald's header adjudged to have crossed the line before Owain Fon Williams could clear it.
The loss leaves Inverness five points adrift at the foot of the table.
"Today, an official has killed us," Foran told BBC Scotland.
"He's made a huge decision on the outcome of that game, and he's got it wrong by the sound of it.
"I'd be lying if I said I saw it - I didn't. My players are adamant it wasn't over the line. One of their players has told me it definitely wasn't over the line.
"I'm devastated hearing it from their players as well. It's a huge decision for the linesman to make. He's got to be 100% correct and he's obviously wrong, and it's killed us."
'At this stage now, you would take second-bottom'
That McDonald effort was an especially bitter blow for an Inverness side who had fought back from two goals down to draw level with their Fir Park hosts.
The victory lifted Motherwell two points clear of the relegation play-off spot, with Dundee now second-bottom.
Caley Thistle boss Foran admits he would now welcome an 11th-place finish and a relegation play-off, saying his side's defensive frailties have once again proved fatal.
"We've got to deal with crosses better," he said. "Every time a cross comes in the box it's causing us a problem and we work on this so much as well. I can't take blame or responsibility for that. The players have got to pick up on crosses - it's schoolboy stuff.
"The first goal, you show a wide man down the line - we show him inside, he finishes it. The second one, ball hung up, goalkeeper should come and catch - he doesn't, and they score. What could I do about that? Nothing.
"But credit to them, they got themselves back in the game and it's another really good performance for large spells with the wrong result at the end. I'd love a terrible performance and the right result.
"At this stage now, you would (take a second-bottom finish). Let's be fair, you would. There's still 15 points up for grabs, but we've got to be better at the back."
'I've still got belief - I can't take a lot of blame today'
Inverness director Richard Smith resigned from his position following a board meeting on Wednesday.
The club denied reports that meeting was held to discuss Foran's future, as the prospect of relegation to Scottish football's second tier looms larger.
The manager insists he is still convinced he can haul Caley Thistle clear of the mire.
"I said to the players, there's no magic man can come in and change things - it's us in there, the players, the staff that can get us out of this mess," he said.
"I've still got belief, I really do, and when I watch the lads play so well at times, how couldn't I? But if you cant defend crosses, you're asking for problems.
"I'm definitely committed. I love the club, I love the city. I can't speak for the board - they can speak themselves if they want to put a statement out. But it lies with me, most of it.
"It's a long season, it hasn't been good enough, but I'm very honest, I can't take a lot of blame today for the goals we conceded. The players have to stand up and take the blame for that."