Northern Ireland manager Nigel Worthington insists he never considered risking Kyle Lafferty for Wednesday's crucial World Cup qualifier against Slovakia.
The Rangers striker sustained a knee injury in Saturday's 1-1 draw with Poland in qualifying Group 3 and has since been ruled out of midweek action.
Northern Ireland can move to the top of the group with a win at Windsor Park and they were hoping to have Lafferty available after his goalscoring heroics in Chorzow.
But Worthington insists he was not prepared to gamble and create concerns for the forwards' long-term fitness at club and international level.
He told a press conference shown on Sky Sports News: "It is obviously a big disappointment that Kyle is out.
"But I'm a big believer that there is someone else out there to come in. So we will focus on them and they will come in and do a good job."
Worthington added: "I was with the medical team when Kyle was assessed this morning. First and foremost, we have got to be fair to Kyle.
"He comes first and after that the longer term of Northern Ireland and most certainly Glasgow Rangers.
"It was a situation that was never under consideration once we had tested him. The decision was made that he wasn't right and there was no point in putting him at risk."