PEDRO CAIXINHA didn’t know whether to laugh or cry when reflecting on his side’s second consecutive 2-1 victory which has seen Rangers recover from their back to back defeats to Celtic in their previous two matches.
Last weekend Caixinha regarded Rangers as being rather fortunate to come back from a goal down against Patrick Thistle going into the final 3 minutes of the match, to win the game with two late strikes that had the Rangers contingent at Firhill going crazy.
Today Caixinha saw his side go in at half time only one goal up in a 45 minutes which they dominated and saw Hearts go down to 10 men.
Yet Rangers reverted to type for this season with a collapse in form in the second half which saw 10 man Hearts start to take control, get a well deserved equaliser only for their goalkeeper to immediately gift wrap a winner for Barry McKay.
The little Ibriox winger came off the bench at Firhill and started the fightback with a smartly taken equaliser. Two important goals in the last two games can only help his confidence.
Joe Garner opened the scoring with an excellent diving header after Kenny Miller did well to find room for the cross. Prince Buaben was then sent off for pulling back Josh Windass when the Rangers midfielder was clean through on the Hearts goal.
But Hearts’ stronger second half showing merited Esmael Conclaves’ equaliser but the match was only at 1-1, for a minute later McKay benefited from Hearts keeper Viktor Noring’s terrible error to grab the winner.
“I think the team began the game very well,” Caixinha reflected. ”
In the first 10 minutes the boys really did what we are expecting from them and we were rewarded by the game that we scored in that moment.
“We struggled a little bit with it, but after the sending off the team calmed down a little bit because they dropped off and created two lines of four just to defend the central space.
“We could not move the ball that fast in order to call the opponent to one side and explore the other side, or be more aggressive on the moves off the ball in order to create spaces round the back,” said the Rangers boss.
“That’s what we spoke with the players about at half time. We committed a lot of mistakes at the start of the second half and didn’t have the right attitude at the start of the second half, and that cost us the goal.
“We got lucky to score after that and we could have killed the game with two or three chances we had after that but could not take the best decision.
“At least we took the three points which is the most important thing. It’s two wins in a row and on Wednesday we welcome Aberdeen, and we want to win to stay just three points from the second position.”
Rangers are now 6 points behind Aberdeen who lost 3-1 at home to Celtic on Friday evening. With 2 matches remaining Caixinha’s target will be to win these matches and try to match the Dons on points, however the goal difference in favour of Aberdeen is such that second and third places are already decided.