FOOTBALL: We must close the gap on Celtic, says Gers boss Caixinho

Rangers manager Pedro Caixinha
Rangers manager Pedro Caixinha

Rangers boss Pedro Caixinha has been forced to admit his side are living in Celtic’s shadow - but he is determined to slash the gap separating the sides.

The new Ibrox manager says he cannot deny the Parkhead men are way out in front after coming up against Brendan Rodgers’ rampant Hoops for the first time on Sunday.

I’m assessing [the gulf between the clubs] and I’m working on a daily basis. It exists and I cannot deny it

A meek Gers line-up showed their bitter rivals far too much respect and were punished as Celtic strolled to a 2-0 win in the William Hill Scottish Cup semi-final at Hampden.

But his team will have one last chance to shoot down the Ladbrokes Premiership champions when they visit Govan on Saturday.

And Caixinha expects to see the passion he believes was missing at the National Stadium.

He said: “I’m assessing [the gulf between the clubs] and I’m working on a daily basis. It exists and I cannot deny it.

“But we want to reduce it and we are going to do it.

“It is not a question of time, though. It is a question of work, belief and commitment.”

The treble-chasing Hoops have reigned supreme domestically and have enjoyed the whip hand over their Glasgow foes, winning four of the five derby clashes so far, with the other ending in a draw.

But Caixinha is refusing to write off his side’s chances - and claims he would rather head home to Portugal than persist with a team he believed had no chance of success.

“The previous games belong to the past,” he said at his pre-match press conference. “The present and the future will be on Saturday.

“If there was not confidence in the squad I would not be here facing you. I would not come before the match, for sure.

“If I don’t believe we could do these things I would not show up. I would just resign and go home.

“On Sunday, we didn’t have the passion in order to be committed enough to let the game flow.

“The [break down in communication] is what we analysed after the match and everything was clear. Am I confident that will be cleared up for Saturday?”