Rangers Fan View: Caixinha gets his tactics wrong

Rangers lost 2-0 at Hampden to Celtic in a game that couldn’t even be classed as a contest. It now means our season is completely over – the quicker the league campaign finishes, the better.

Our performance on the day was pitiful and we were lucky if three players stood up and were counted on the day. However, I have to take issue with Pedro Caixinha and his tactical and personnel set up, especially in the first half.

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He went with Andy Halliday in place of Jon Toral. Up front, Caixinha put his trust in Kenny Miller, Joe Garner and Martyn Waghorn as they made up some sort of attacking trident. But in his post-match comments, he referred to it as “an aggressive 4-4-2.” It was the strangest 4-4-2 I have ever witnessed. The shape looked more like a disjointed 4-3-3, in all honesty.

It was obvious from the first minute that our game plan was to sit back and attempt to hit them on the counter-attack. It failed miserably. Scott Brown was given all day to pick up the ball and dictate the game from the centre of the park while our team was so deep we couldn’t get close to him. We made him look like a footballer – that in itself is an indication of just how poor we were.

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It looked at times like Jason Holt was holding, Emerson Hyndman was floating from right to centre and Andy Halliday was meant to be playing in beside Holt but he was rarely in that position – he was all over the place. His only contribution to the game was almost taking out Patrick Roberts and he couldn’t even do that properly.

Rangers never at any point looked like we had any idea what we were supposed to be doing. That was the most galling thing about the full first half. Going forward, that kind of performance cannot be repeated. I don’t think there is a word in the English language to describe it.

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That was what I saw from the first half in terms of tactical setup. It didn’t work and mainly because we were 10 minutes in and no one took the responsibility to track Callum McGregor’s run as he passed it into the net. It was so easy and from a defensive point of view, a complete shambles.

We did change it in the second half. Joe Garner and Halliday and bringing on Barrie McKay and Joe Dodoo. We actually started the half not too badly. Our front players pressed them a bit more and we got the ball wide and started to get in behind them, which garnered some success but not enough to get any desired outcome.

When you complain about referees and complain about being the victim of a conspiracy – as Celtic are famed for doing – it was inevitable that Willie Collum would go out his way and give them a penalty. Maybe it will stop the demented going on about being cheated for a week or two.

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They scored it, of course. We created two headed chances in the last 10 – Miller and Waghorn failed to convert. Waghorn’s was a gilt-edged chance. To be frank, he really should have scored from it but managed to head it well over the bar. His missing of chances are really starting to get on my nerves.

It was a massive summing up of our season in one 90 minutes; we have a team of bottlers, and we have a manager who got his tactics wrong on the day.

Hopefully the players and the manager will approach things differently next week at Ibrox. It’s a game that means absolutely nothing in the grand scheme of things but it’s one we must go all out to win.

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