Rangers boss Caixinha shoulders blame for humiliating defeat to Celtic

Rangers' Andy Halliday and Celtic's Scott Sinclair compete for the ball during the Ladbrokes Scottish Premiership match at the Ibrox Stadium
Rangers' Andy Halliday and Celtic's Scott Sinclair compete for the ball during the Ladbrokes Scottish Premiership match at the Ibrox Stadium

Rangers boss Pedro Caixinha held his hands up and accepted the blame for the performance which saw his side suffer their heaviest ever home defeat to Celtic.

The Ibrox boss insists he will not shy away from responsibility following a deeply embarrassing 5-1 drubbing at Ibrox.

Brendan Rodgers' ruthless Hoops struck five goals at their old foes' ground for the first time ever as they once again demonstrated the massive gulf spanning the Old Firm divide.

Yet despite seeing his Rangers lose a derby clash at home by four goals for the first time in 119 years, Caixinha insisted his team had performed with passion.

Speaking after the humiliation, the Portuguese coach said: "We played well but I am to blame. It is my total responsibility.

"The players tried to do their very best, they had a fantastic attitude and they raised their level.

Rangers manager Pedro Caixinha

Rangers manager Pedro Caixinha

"Things didn't go in the direction we were supposed to have planned so I am the man responsible.

"I saw more from my players this week [than in last weekend's Scottish Cup semi-final defeat], the way we started the game was in that direction.

"You need to judge me all the time. From day one since I came here. I not a guy who puts the responsibility on others, I take it all the time.

"So judge me all the time. For things that are not going in the right direction I am responsible and I always will be."

Celtic's Jozo Simunovic and Rangers' Joe Dodoo compete for the ball d

Celtic's Jozo Simunovic and Rangers' Joe Dodoo compete for the ball d

The clash was the team's second meeting in the space of seven days.

Gers were expected to step things up after their meek Hampden display but for the fifth time in six games against Rodgers' treble-chasing troops, they come out second best.

Scott Sinclair slotted the Hoops ahead after teenager Myles Beermen conceded a needless penalty just six minutes in. Leigh Griffiths then struck a stunning second before second-half strikes from Callum McGregor, Dedryck Boyata and Mikael Lustig handed Celtic a handsome winning margin as they clocked up their 43rd domestic game without defeat this season.

Yet Caixinha insisted he was happy with the intensity levels shown by his hapless side, whose late Kenny Miller strike was of no consolation.

Asked if they had performed with more passion than last Sunday, he replied: "They did it, totally. Maybe even the penalty comes from that situation - to look like you have passion but not know exactly where to place it in that exact moment.

"The team got on the game showing that passion and power, definitely."

Caixinha can expect to come under some severe scrutiny after being tactically outsmarted by Rodgers for the second time. His decision to go with a midfield diamond allowed Celtic to swarm down the flanks and they mercilessly exploited the space.

In the new Gers boss' defence, he is operating with players he did not chose and admits he will have to clear the decks this summer.

"We need to make a lot of changes, we are very keen to reduce the difference," he said.

"It is possible to bridge the gap and we need to do it. That's what everyone is working hard towards."

Rodgers saluted his rampant players but the perfectionist former Liverpool boss reckoned they should have turned the screw further on the demoralised Light Blues, who have now shipped five goals to their old foes twice this season.

"I said when I came in my job was to build a team who could go into any stadium without fear and play," he said. "Obviously this is one of the great rivals for Celtic, so for us to come here and show that was pleasing.

"We had a couple of moments, like the goal at the end, which typify it.

"Our defenders defend forward. They are aggressive, step in, and that's where the fifth goal comes from, with Mika winning it and then scoring like a winger or centre forward.

"But you have to earn the right. Fundamentally in any game you have to defend, and how I like my team to defend is with that aggression and high level of pressing, and the players did it right the way through.

"From the first to the last minute their physicality in the game was top class.

"There's never comfort. What I look for is improvement in performance, and from the first 5-1 to today's 5-1 there's a totally different dynamic to the team.

"Rangers started off with a diamond and if you're not concentrated, not organised, you can get outnumbered and outpassed. But the players tactically were absolutely superb in the game.

"So yeah, a big difference in terms of the 5-1 at the beginning of the season to the 5-1 today. It was a very comprehensive win.

"The only disappointment is that we actually should have scored more goals."