MARK WARBURTON, the Rangers manager, pleaded for protection for Nathan Oduwa and others from Scotland's referees after seeing the England Under-20 winger forced to hobble off at half-time during a bruising 1-0 win over Livingston in the quarter-finals of the Petrofac Training Cup.

Nicky Clark scored the winning goal 15 minutes from time after replacing Oduwa, but Warburton spent most of his post-match press conference addressing the physical approach shown by Mark Burchill's visitors.

Kieran Gibbons was lucky to escape punishment for a vicious challenge on Oduwa in the very first minute with Declan Gallagher becoming one of eight players to be cautioned for a crude foul on him just before the half-hour.

Warburton and his assistant, David Weir, were both spoken to by referee Andrew Dallas during the second half after lodging one complaint too many with his fourth official, Greg Aitken.

Oduwa, who is not believed to have any kind of serious injury, also pleaded with Dallas and his team for some support at the break before being removed from the play.

"You pay your money to watch people like Nathan Oduwa," said Warburton, whose side will now play host to St Mirren in the last four. "He was asking for some better protection.

"We want games to be entertaining and for fans to enjoy it. Nathan's one of those players who gets you off your seat.

"It is frustrating watching the game. Talented players do need some protection.

"I'm not saying special treatment, but look after them. Some of the tackles were inappropriate.

"It's a challenge for him and he'll need to learn to deal with it. It's part of his learning and development. He'll find a solution to it but right now it's more than frustrating for him.

"The first tackle on Nathan came after about 25 seconds and that was followed by four or five swiftly after that. He's got bruising to his ankle and foot and I just think it was frustrating, to be polite.

"Nathan has got some knocks. His ankle, foot thigh, shin, neck, nose. You name it, he's bruised (there)."

Warburton allowed his own frustration to get the better of him when remonstrating with Aitken just before the interval after Martyn Waghorn had been booked in the wake of a challenge with Ben Gordon in the centre of the field.

"I saw Martyn Waghorn get booked and I have no idea what for having looked at the replay, especially as you saw a number of tackles go unpunished," said the Rangers manager.

"I never want to see players booked or red carded, but, at times, it is necessary.

"The referee didn't say a lot to me and Davie which, again, is frustrating. We have to improve communications between us – managers and coaches and officials."

Mark Burchill, the Livingston manager, praised Dallas after the final whistle and defended the physical approach of his players.

"It's a cup tie, two teams trying to win and there's a referee in charge," said Burchill. "He's the boss.

"I think it's a very difficult job being a referee. The first tackle from a Rangers player should have been a yellow card, but he let that go. Then, you have to let a few more go.

"I thought he did handle it well. Did any of my players get sent off? No. I'm happy with that then.

"We lost a poor goal too. Luckily for Rangers and unluckily for us, it's taken a deflection in front of the keeper and gone in the corner."