Date: 19th September 2017 at 8:49am
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Rangers gaffer Pedro Caixinha has called on the side to be completely focused for the cup tie against Partick Thistle this evening.

Having taken a two all draw with them in not quite spectacular fashion in the last league game, we head again to Firhill for the League Cup tie and the boss wanted the players to focus purely on this game and nothing else,

Speaking to the Official Site as he met with the media, Caixinha explained.

‘Like I said before the Dunfermline game, is the most important game of the season – you know why? It`s a knockout game. You need to win tomorrow as in November you want to be in the final. That is the reality – this is a competition in which only four games allow you to take a trophy, and at this club, with all the circumstances that everybody knows, we have had a long wait for titles. We cannot refuse this chance tomorrow to get in the semi-final, and then after that, we think about the final. But one at a time.’

Reflecting more on last Friday’s clash that saw Rangers take the lead, then fall two one behind, before saving a point, he went on to say.

‘When you watch the opponent teams playing against maybe the four opponents before us – and maybe top teams like Celtic and Aberdeen – I don`t see the same behaviour. I don`t see the same aggression that they have – I`m not criticising, but I am saying we need to know how to deal with it because it is happening and it is happening on a regular basis, so it is one more thing we need to care about. We can`t get in the opponents game, we need to play our football, but when it is time to fight, it is time to fight.’

He went on to say.

‘I have a clear process in order to analyse games and see the way things are going. One of those things we normally analyse about the opponent is the kick-off ball. Some of the teams have a long kick-off ball, and others, like Partick, receive the ball and try to drive in-between our lines – and that happened. When that happens, I don`t feel good as we knew it was going to happen and we did nothing to prevent it. We expect our team to be proactive rather than reactive. I think we had the control of the game in the first half and could have killed it. I`ve watched the game back twice and we didn`t have very good decisions in the last third, so the last pass was difficult. After we scored the equaliser in the second half, we had a lot of balls into the box, we had a lot of situations where we could have scored. Regarding the control, yes, we need to have more control of the game.’

With Caixinha confirming that Declan John wasn’t an injury doubt with news of Lee Wallace being out for at least the next two games – Celtic included – the gaffer confirmed the summer signing would make his full debut in this one.

‘When we finished the window, we said we were very happy with the squad as we had options, solutions and players who can play in different positions if someone is not able to play, and that is the situation now with Dec. He didn`t play that much with Cardiff City, so he is a little bit out of rhythm, but he is a player who we trust totally and he is going to give us different things from Lee as he offers different characteristics, even though he plays in the same position. So, it is one player who has all of our confidence and tomorrow he will be on the pitch and will have a very good game like he did on Friday.’

With Wallace out, Niko Kranjcar and Kenny Miller will also miss the game but Caixinha was confident to rely on ‘two’ of our captains rather than the ‘five’ he spoke about previously.

‘We have five captains, but in this game, we will count on only two captains. They will be Graham Dorrans and Bruno Alves. For Kenny, it is a question of giving him a break. He will have a day off tomorrow and he will enjoy that with the family – I want him to switch off from football at the moment. We have a squad which can do the job tomorrow.’

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