ST JOHNSTONE boss Owen Coyle fears Jason Scotland's World Cup dream could be wrecked - unless referees give the player more protection.
Coyle believes the elusive Trinidad and Tobago star is being targeted by cynical defenders and insists the former Dundee United ace, who is counting the days to a clash with England in the summer, is a class act.
But he said: "I don't think Jason has been getting the sort of protection from officials he deserves.
"I like to see entertainers - at any club - and Jason is the type of player who lights up games with brilliant pieces of individual play.
"They tell me the tackle from behind is banned but sometimes I wonder. Jason soaks up a lot of punishment and he's a brave player.
"But his reputation now goes before him and he's a marked man. Teams are aware he carries a real threat."
Coyle, meanwhile, suffered a double midfield blow ahead of the crucial festive period.
Ryan McCann suffered medial ligament damage in the 0-0draw at St Mirren,while Darren Sheridan will start a three-game ban after the Boxing Day clash with Ross County.