Rangers manager Ally McCoist was last night forced to defend his decision to replace a fit Steven Naismith with Kyle Lafferty during the Europa League play-off against Maribor, which the Scottish champions lost 2-1.
Ally |is on the rackMccoist is forced to defend lafferty move |as rangers lose again
The under-fire Ibrox boss said he made the decision at the break — with Rangers leading — because he feared Naismith picking up a red card.
Northern Ireland striker Lafferty was far from match fit, coming on for his first appearance of the season after a hernia operation.
Steven Whittaker and Madjid Bougherra both saw red in the Champions League qualifying exit to Malmo — and McCoist says he was keen to avoid a repeat.
He said: “It was to keep him on the park. I thought there was a distinct chance that Naismith could have been sent off.”