Kenny Jackett has explained his reasoning for substituting Pompey man-of-the-match Ross McCrorie.
The Scotland under-21 international turned in an outstanding performance at right-back during Saturday’s visit of Oxford United.
Yet, on 85 minutes, he was withdrawn in favour of James Bolton, representing the first of Jackett’s two changes from the bench.
In McCrorie’s absence, the Blues yet again surrendered victory at the death, ultimately being held to a 1-1 draw by the visitors.
However, with the Rangers loanee already on a yellow card following a first-half challenge of Josh Ruffels, Pompey’s boss felt there was a danger of his player being dismissed.
He said: ‘It was just to make sure Ross didn’t get sent off.
‘He was on a booking and there are sometimes situations he puts himself into. I didn’t want to go down to 10 men.
‘Ross was on a yellow and then made a foul mid-way through the second half, where it did look like one more and that could be it.
‘He brought a lot to our game and is learning all the time. In terms of bookings, he has to be careful and learn from that – and he can and will keep improving.
‘He has found his feet now, there have been quite a number of changes in the summer and he is one of them. I am pleased with him.
‘We persevered with him and there is a player there, definitely.’
McCrorie has been booked three times in 10 games this season, in addition to two yellow cards and a sending off on his Pompey debut at Shrewsbury.
His caution on Saturday was for a thudding slide challenge with Ruffels in a 50/50 attempt for the ball during the first half.
However, such was the damage to the Oxford man, he had to be substituted shortly afterwards, with Elliott Moore taking his place.
McCrorie was last week named in the Scotland squad for their final European Championship under-21 qualifier.
Scot Gemmill’s side entertain Greece in Edinburgh on Friday, November 15.
Potentially, that will rule him out of Pompey fixtures at Harrogate Town (November 11) and Fleetwood (November 16).