Alex McLeish hit out at the “soft” second yellow card for John Souttar that hastened Scotland’s collapse in a poor 2-1 loss at Israel in the Nations League.
Hearts centre-back Souttar, the recipient of a contentious caution in the first half, was dismissed in the 61st minute for putting an arm across Munas Dabbur, who needed little invitation to go down.
Israel had equalised nine minutes earlier and went on to earn a thoroughly deserved victory as Kieran Tierney’s own goal capped a lacklustre Scotland display.
Souttar’s sending off compounded the half-time loss of goalscorer Charlie Mulgrew to a muscle problem and left McLeish to rue official Daniel Stefanski’s decision.
“I thought it was soft. The referee is not up with play, he’s 60 yards away,” the ex-Rangers boss told reporters.
“We were ready to take [Souttar] off just then, so it was really ill timing. He was devastated getting sent off.
“Losing two central defenders makes it hard. It’s never easy playing with 10 and Israel had one or two players in good form and it was roasting out there, really warm.
“We had a good win against Albania [in September] and we need to pick it up again. We’ll get some stick for this and we need to bounce back.”
Thursday’s result means Group 1 in League C is wide open with Scotland, Israel and Albania all level on three points after two matches.
Israel head coach Andreas Herzog was delighted his team capitalised on their dominance to stay in the hunt for promotion.
“We had a lot of chances and the win was well deserved,” he said. “It was maybe not the best game for Scotland but we had a really good day. We were looking for the finishing, that was what was missing in my first two games.
“If we want to qualify, we have to repeat that against Albania on Sunday.”