Tinkering Caixinha lauds Gers' late victory at Partick
Partick 1 Rangers 2
Pedro Caixinha reckons Rangers got their reward for risking their necks at Firhill as they fought back for a dramatic late win over Partick Thistle. The stuttering Light Blues looked set to suffer their first defeat to the Jags in 24 years after falling behind to Kris Doolan's early opener.
But Caixinha kept up his tinkerman reputation as he tore up his game plan in the second half and threw bodies forward.
Gers finished the match with four up front but it paid off as Barrie McKay equalised before Joe Garner nodded home in the fourth minute of stoppage time.
The Portuguese coach was criticised for the tactics he employed during his side's two recent Old Firm defeats but this time he says he called it right as Gers booked their Europa League slot for next season.
"Today was really important for us to show a reaction," he said, with last week's 5-1 humiliation against Celtic in mind. "We showed it in the second half and I need to be happy with that.
"We needed to change the course of the game and we managed it. The performance was disorientated.
"My passion and dedication to this sport is that I would rather die trying it rather than be alive to see what happens. And that is what the players did."
Caixinha changed the shape of his team a couple of times, with an injury to Danny Wilson forcing the most attacking formation and one that paid off.
"When Danny Wilson got injured we had to go to a 4-2-4," he said. "We took the risks, the players understood them and we were rewarded."
The Rangers players could celebrate with the visiting fans, but in truth were fortunate to get anything from a match that was bossed by Thistle for long spells.
However, Caixinha believes the win will hush the doubters who have questioned his team's commitment in the wake of their recent derby displays.
"I really like the way the players understood and were committed," he said. "There were a lot of moments I really felt the passion from the players.
"If we were not together as a group I don't think the players would celebrate like that at the end. I don't think so."
The loss was another bitter blow for Thistle boss Alan Archibald after they collapsed in similar fashion against their city neighbours back in November.
They will now finish the campaign as the only top-flight side not to take points from Rangers and Archibald said: "It was brutal to be honest, it's hard to take.
"We thought we had got rid of this Achilles heel of losing late goals but obviously not."