Hibernian manager Pat Fenlon feels Leigh Griffiths is suffering because of his reputation after the striker had a penalty claim rejected in a 1-0 defeat by St Mirren that kept the club firmly in relegation danger.
Fenlon felt Griffiths was impeded by Dougie Imrie as the on-loan Wolves forward lined up a shot as the visitors chased an equaliser to Kenny McLean's 65th-minute strike.
But referee Stephen Finnie, who sent off St Mirren defender Marc McAusland and Hibs midfielder Lewis Stevenson, was unconvinced and Fenlon's team remain just three points above Clydesdale Bank Premier League bottom club Dunfermline.
Griffiths has had an eventful season, being banned three times by the Scottish Football Association for gestures to fans.
Last month Hibs denied a report that Griffiths had headbutted Fenlon and punched assistant Billy Brown during training and the 21-year-old's private life has also been the subject of newspaper stories.
Fenlon said: "I thought it was a penalty. I would like to see it again but maybe if it had been someone else we might have got it.
"There are things following Leigh now in relation to what people are writing in the paper about him. Unfortunately he has to put up with that."
Hibs, who were without top goalscorer Garry O'Connor, also lost 1-0 to Kilmarnock last weekend and have seen their seven-point lead slashed since the split.
O'Connor's replacement, Eoin Doyle, passed up two good chances but there were few other clear-cut opportunities other than McLean's expert finish from 18 yards.
However, Fenlon said: "I was disappointed with the result but I was pleased with the performance. 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 on Monday," Fenlon said. "He was ill for the last couple of days."
Hibs will be without 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.
McAusland was sent off for pulling back Griffiths after earlier being booked for hauling down Isaiah Osbourne.
Fenlon said: "I thought the two red cards were harsh but you can't tackle in the game any more. The game has gone soft and every tackle is challenged."
St Mirren manager Danny Lennon praised his side for learning from last weekend's 4-4 draw against Dunfermline and "handling the ugly side of the game".
Lennon, who dedicated the victory to lifelong St Mirren fan John Shannon, a soldier serving in Afghanistan, 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.
But he added: "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."