Martin Boyle has hit back at John Hughes’ “bizarre” blast as the Hibernian winger defended himself against fresh diving claims at Ibrox.
The Easter Road speedster was given a yellow card for simulation as his side lost 2-1 to Rangers on Sunday.
But Boyle felt it was a harsh call by referee Don Robertson as he insisted he had been outmuscled by Gers defender Connor Goldson.
And the Australia international is worried he is building up a reputation for going down easy following Ross County manager Hughes’ outburst in the wake of Hibs’ Dingwall win last month.
The Staggies boss accused Boyle of twice hitting the deck in the box after watching the Hibs winger win a penalty which brought Jack Ross’ team level in the Highlands.
After County’s 2-1 defeat, Hughes raged: “The last time I saw a dive like that the boy had Speedos on.”
But Boyle insists it is time he is given more protection from officials after pointing out statistics which show he is one of the most fouled men in Scotland.
He said: “A lot of people are commenting on me at the moment but the way I move sometimes it is easy to be brushed off the ball.
“I felt those comments (from Hughes) were a bit bizarre at the time and I haven’t commented on them before now.
“But that one up there was a clear penalty and the second one there was all about the way I’m moving and the fact there was slight contact – and if you feel contact, that’s it.
“I am being shown stats that say I am the most fouled player in the league and in some games I get taken out 10-12 times. I could get multiple people booked but no-one speaks about that.
“I get some unbelievable tackles on me and nothing is said about that. I am the sort of guy who just brushes it aside and gets up and gets on with my game.”
Boyle has been fouled 82 times this season – with only Aberdeen midfielder Lewis Ferguson taking more blows than the Easter Road ace.
Boyle happily conceded the first-half coming-together with Goldson on Sunday, however, was not the result of foul play.
But is also adamant he was not trying to con Robertson into awarding a spot-kick.
“I just got bundled over and I wasn’t even claiming for the penalty,” he stressed. “I went for the ball and I just wasn’t strong enough and was brushed aside by the big boys.
“I said to the referee at half time that I didn’t think it was a yellow card because I wasn’t wanting a penalty – but he said he thought I was playing for it.
“I was a bit disappointed. There was nothing in it and I was just pushed off the ball.
“The referee said I put my foot over him to try to get the ball and that is what I need to do. I did that at Ross County and I won the penalty.
“I didn’t feel there was enough for it to be a penalty but it wasn’t a dive.”
Aberdeen have cut Hibs’ lead in the race for third place to four points and Boyle said: “We have four massive league games and we are looking forward to them. We are in good form and we can’t wait. But if we want to finish third then we have to earn that right.”