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Tuesday 24th
posted by Morning Star in Sport

Players ‘an embarrassment’ for shocking display against Motherwell, boss says

PEDRO CAIXINHA launched an astonishing attack on his Rangers players yesterday following their Scottish League Cup semi-final defeat to Motherwell, accusing them of embarrassing him, the club and the fans.

The under-fire Ibrox boss did not hold back as he held a post-mortem 24 hours on from Sunday’s 2-0 defeat by Stephen Robinson’s Steelmen at Hampden.

He accused his team of lacking the mental strength to cope with playing for Rangers and demanded they now prove they are behind him.

But he insisted the players who let him down against Well — injured goalkeeper Jak Alnwick and defender Fabio Cardoso apart — will be given the chance to make amends against Kilmarnock tomorrow night.

Asked if his players were tough enough to cope with wearing the Light Blue shirt, he said: “It doesn’t look like that.

“I’ve already told the players and that’s why I’m telling you. I cannot count on Jak for Wednesday because he felt a contusion on his arm.

“You have seen Fabio’s face (he suffered broken nose after seemingly being elbowed by Ryan Bowman), so I cannot count on him. But I’ve told the players: ‘You are embarrassing me, you are embarrassing our club, you are embarrassing our fans’.

“If I could pick the same XI, if they were all available, those guys who didn’t do the work who really needed to do it [on Sunday], those are the one who would start on Wednesday.”

The manner of Rangers’ collapse as they allowed Louis Moult to fire Well into next month’s final showdown with Celtic will have shocked chairman Dave King, who made a rare appearance at Hampden for the match.

Caixinha says he has spent much of his seven-month reign trying to pick the players up after a series of let-downs on the pitch.

Now the Portuguese — who has yet to register three straight wins as Rangers boss — has demanded they now rally round him as the pressure starts to mount.

He said: “Now I expect to be paid the other way around. These players pay for this club, for this badge. These players pay for me.

“Are they behind me? That’s what they need to show.”