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McCoist on the rack after Rangers defeat

By Lisa Gray

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.”

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