Hibs' Pat Fenlon questions penalty denial in Paisley defeat

Griffiths was denied a penalty during the 1-0 defeat by St Mirren
Griffiths was denied a penalty during the 1-0 defeat by St Mirren

Hibernian manager Pat Fenlon feels Leigh Griffiths is suffering because of his reputation after a penalty claim was rejected against St Mirren.

The 1-0 defeat keeps the Edinburgh side firmly in relegation danger.

"I would like to see it again, but maybe if it had been someone else we might have got it," Fenlon said of a Dougie Imrie tackle he thought illegal.

"There are things following Leigh now in relation to what people are writing in the paper about him."

Griffiths has banned three times by the Scottish Football Association for gestures to fans, Hibs denied reports of a training ground bust-up involving the on-loan Wolves striker and the 21-year-old's private life has also been the subject of newspaper stories.

Strike partner Garry O'Connor missed the visit to Paisley through illness and replacement Eoin Doyle missed a couple of good chances in a defeat that leaves Hibs only three points clear of bottom side Dunfermline Athletic.

"I was disappointed with the result, but I was pleased with the performance," said Fenlon. "I thought we did enough to win the game.

"I thought we had the best chances and it was a bit like last week, our goalkeeper didn't have a save to make.

"We just have to keep playing like we did and we'll get a little break. We are as good as the teams we have got to play.

"If we play as well as we did today, I think we are capable of winning the games."

O'Connor, who limped off against Kilmarnock with an ankle knock, now faces a challenge to be fit for Wednesday's trip to Aberdeen.

"We'll see how he is tomorrow," Fenlon said. "He was ill for the last couple of days."

Hibs will be without Lewis Stevenson at Pittodrie after the midfielder picked up his second yellow card in injury-time for a challenge on Paul McGowan, having been booked earlier for a late tackle on Dougie Imrie.

St Mirren defender Marc McAusland was sent off for pulling back Griffiths after earlier being booked for hauling down Isaiah Osbourne.

"I thought the two red cards were harsh, but you can't tackle in the game any more," complained Fenlon.

"The game has gone soft and every tackle is challenged."

St Mirren manager Danny Lennon, who praised his side, agreed with Fenlon's assessment of the red cards.

"By the laws of the game, it probably is a sending off, I think Marc has pulled him back," he said.

"I think we have to get the game right in terms of these challenges.

"I even think the Hibs one was pretty soft as well. It used to be the case a year or two ago that it was the responsibility of referees to keep 11 players on the pitch.

"Fans want to see two full sets of 11 players going hammer and tong."