WHEN you go into an aerial challenge and your arms are up – like Ricki Lamie’s were in that collision with Joe Aribo on Wednesday night – you are doing it to give yourself leverage.

But you are also doing it because it gives you some protection when you are going in against an opposition player. If you do clash, you hope you don’t get hurt.

My ability in the air was one of my strengths as a player so I know what it takes and how to win the ball. I took a few sore ones as well.

I don’t think Lamie went out to seriously injure Joe the other night, but it was a dangerous, dangerous challenge to go up and lead with his elbow, and with that force.

He left Aribo needing treatment on the park and 20 stitches in his forehead. But, somehow, it wasn’t even a booking.

I couldn’t believe that. You can’t throw yourself into an aerial duel like that, catch someone in the face as seriously as that and not pick up at least a yellow card for it. That is not acceptable.

I don’t think Lamie deliberately smashed Joe or meant to do him damage and Steven Gerrard has said that since the end of the game as well. But nobody can say that was a fair challenge and an acceptable way to go into a challenge.

I would hope that the officials, having watched it back now, would admit that they got it badly wrong but that is no consolation to Joe because he will now miss the Aberdeen game this weekend and could miss the trip to Bern next week as well.

If you lift your arm like that, if you put your elbow in knowing where the opponent’s head is going to be, then you deserved to be punished. You can’t get away with that.

That number of stitches shows it is a really serious cut, but Aribo could easily have been caught in the eye and it could have swollen up or he could have broken his jaw given the force of how he was caught.

You have to be so careful with head injuries and all players need to be mindful of the damage they could do to a fellow professional. It is one thing protecting yourself, but you don’t endanger the safety of another player in the process.

Steven Gerrard has every right to speak out about it and he was also right to say that Filip Helander could have seen red for his challenge on Lyndon Dykes in the first half.

In the end, it was a very pleasing win for Rangers because Livingston are difficult opponents and they will be as physical and combative against every team they face this season.

That system and approach that they have got suits them well and they get results from it.

If they stay in the league, the manager, the players and the small band of fans won’t care about how they do it or what their Premiership rivals think about them.

Rangers found it difficult at times to combat that physical approach and most teams will to be honest, especially on that plastic pitch.

But the goal from Glen Kamara early on was enough to get them through to the semi-finals and set up a meeting with Hearts at Hampden.

It wasn’t a great performance from Rangers but they found a way to win and that was important.

When the club hasn’t lifted any silverware for as long, the cup competitions mean so much to the manager and the players this term.

If Rangers had lost the other night, you know what the reaction would have been from the Press and the supporters. That is the pressure you are under and why Steven was relieved as well as pleased to win.