Jack Ross insists Alfredo Morelos should have been sent off before he got the chance to fire Rangers another step closer to the title at Easter Road.
The Colombian slotted home his 11th goal of the season just after half-time to move Steven Gerrard’s team within eight wins of their Premiership crown.
But raging Hibernian boss Ross is adamant the 24-year-old should not have been on the park to grab the crucial strike which secured a 1-0 win after appearing to stamp on Ryan Porteous’ knee inside the first quarter of an hour.
The full extent of the incident was missed by referee Kevin Clancy but Morelos – who has already been given one retrospective ban this season after a clash with Dundee United’s Mark Connolly – may find himself facing another call from the compliance officer in the days to come.
Ross – whose side suffered fresh frustration following their Betfred Cup semi-final heartache as they missed the chance to reclaim third spot from Aberdeen – said: “It’s a red card. You can ask me and I don’t think my opinion is going to be different to every single person here and every single person who watched it.
“It’s quite an easy one to say it should be a red card but obviously it’s been missed by the match officials.”
Porteous went on to deny Morelos the opener with a vital clearance just before half-time but switched off six minutes after the change of ends as the striker finished off a slick team move.
“I wouldn’t use it as an excuse for how we lost the goal,” added Jack. “We defended brilliantly throughout the game and that was one lapse for us. We should have defended the goal better, irrespective of who scores it.
‘I’m not going to put that as an excuse for conceding but I would point to the fact that he shouldn’t have been on the pitch, but I think that’s plain for everyone to see.”
The result maintained Gers’ 23-point lead at the top and Gerrard preferred to focus on the display of his team rather than Morelos’ latest run in with an opponent.
He said: “I haven’t had time to look at any of the incidents from the game. I remember a few from both sides – but I’d rather talk about the performance and the level of it.
“It was another fantastic team goal. Alfredo will deserve the credit for finishing it off.
“I took him off at the weekend to have him really fresh for tonight because I knew he’d have to do a lot of running.
“I knew we weren’t coming here to play a technical game. We wanted to really find the space and when we got into the final third then show our quality.
“I’ve just given a little bit of my gameplan away there but the lads went out and executed it extremely well.
“But I think we deserved that team goal because of the application we’ve given to the game.
“This was a tough fixture. People on the outside would have looked at it as one were we could have a bit of a bump but our performance deserved what we’re taking away from here tonight.”