22 Apr It’s all about the Gers
Rangers boss Pedro Caixinha does not care about becoming the first man to outwit Brendan Rodgers this season.
But he is determined to see Rangers keep their hopes of landing a first major trophy since 2011 alive by toppling Celtic in Sunday’s William Hill Scottish Cup semi-final.
The rampant Hoops are again the overwhelming favourites after a so far undefeated domestic campaign and victory this weekend will leave them just 90 minutes away from completing a treble for the first time since 2001.
Yet Caixinha declared: “I’m not worried about [becoming the first team to beat Celtic]. And I also don’t think they are so obsessed with that.
“Everybody is talking about us stopping them winning a treble – but I don’t care about it.
“I’m just focusing on my team. By the end of Sunday’s game, you will have one team who is going to win it.
“We are preparing for it to be our side who does it. Even if it’s 90 minutes, 120 minutes or by penalties.”
Caixinha was appointed as Mark Warburton’s successor 24 hours before last month’s Old Firm showdown at Celtic Park.
But he let caretaker boss Graeme Murty take charge of the team one last time as he decided to assess his new squad from the Parkhead directors box.
However, the big calls will now be down to the Portuguese as he prepares for his derby debut and the 46-year-old is relishing the opportunity.
“I’ve had derbies in Mexico, Portugal, Greece, Romania and with national teams,” he said. “I like those type of matches and I like matches which are more about the strategical side of the game, and I love that.
“I think I am going to be a guy who will enjoy the game and seeing if things are going to go the way we have worked with them along the week.
“It is going to be a fantastic environment and a fantastic football match. We need to be prepared to play it and win it.”
Clint Hill rescued a point for Rangers with his last-gasp equaliser last month and should be fit to face Celtic again after three games out with a calf injury.
Caixinha has spent this week watching re-runs of the 1-1 draw and reckons it has provided some useful hints as he looks to draw up a blueprint for victory.
He said: “If you analyse your opponent playing against other opponents, you may extract some important information. But when you play against that same opponent, the information is closer to the reality.
“We are playing Celtic on Sunday and then next Saturday. So for that next match, we will analyse for it and prepare for it according to the last confrontation. So it was important to analyse that last match in order to make our own conclusions and to know and to give us some orientations as to the way we need to approach the game in some specific moments.
“Sitting in the stand that day, I was watching our team and our players – I was not watching or looking for Celtic at all. When I analyse, I analyse by the moment, and if I analyse by moments, I see the opponent too by moments.
“When they are attacking, we are defending. When we are on the offensive transition they are on the defensive transition. Those sort of moments are the moments I analyse in order to see what we need to stop the opponent and what we can explore on the opponent – that is the same situation we went through.”