ANGE POSTECOGLOU has called upon referees to protect players from reckless challenges, after revealing that the injury picked up by midfielder Yosuke Ideguchi in the win over Alloa on Saturday was more serious than first thought.

Ideguchi, who was making his full debut for the club, was forced from the action after a challenge from Wasps midfielder Mouhamed Niang, and now faces a 'significant' spell on the sidelines.

Referee Don Robertson cautioned the on-loan Partick Thistle man on the night, but that may be upgraded to a red card as the SFA Compliance Officer cited the 22-year-old over the incident yesterday.

That is too little, too late for Postecoglou though, who wants to see officials taking tougher action on the field to prevent injuries to his players in the first place.

“I’m disappointed for [Ideguchi] because he wants to come in and make an impact,” Postecoglou said.

“That was his first start, and to be out for a period of time because of something that during the game could have been taken control of by the referee is disappointing for him.

“I think the referees role in any game is to be the protector of both sets of players and to make sure there’s an environment there that protects players from incidents like we saw.

“It wasn’t just the one that caused the injury, I thought there were quite a few challenges he could have taken better control of. For me, that’s one of the primary roles of any referee.

“I don’t question referee’s decisions, I understand they’ve got a difficult job to do. We’ve had some good ones, we’ve had some bad ones, but I’ve never used them as an excuse.

“But in terms of protection of players, that’s where referees have to be vigilant, because we’re told they will be at the start of every season,

“I’ve managed in different countries, I’ve managed in World Cups, and there are certain rules that have changed along the way in my 25 years of management.

“But the one consistent factor is that we’re always shown this vision of actions they deem to be premeditated or reckless. It doesn’t have to be premeditated, it can just be a challenge that is reckless, and anything that endangers a player on the field should be dealt with.

“I was disappointed it wasn’t dealt with the other night.”

Postecoglou believes that officials also have a duty to consider the image of Scottish football that is being projected overseas by clamping down on such challenges, and says that he introduction of VAR can’t come soon enough to this country so that players will no longer get away with such tackles.

“Most countries have VAR now and those kind of things don’t escape punishment anymore,” he said.

“That’s the right way to go about it. I don’t think anybody wants to see that [type of tackle], and at the same time we want to sell this game and keep increasing the attention the game here in Scotland gets. We want to showcase it.

“We’ve signed players from the other side of the world, Hearts have signed a couple of Aussies. The game here is getting a global reach here now, and I don’t think people want to tune in and see people getting hurt.

“They want to tune in and see exciting football, so it falls on everyone to protect the image of the game.

“If you have VAR, those sorts of incidents are dealt with pretty quickly now, and what you see is less and less of them because players know they can’t escape that anymore.

“Here in Scotland we obviously don’t have VAR, but it’s not just referees, because they can sometimes miss things.

“There are linesmen, fourth officials who are also part of the game, and their role is to protect that environment so we all see what we want to see, and that is football being played.”