Motherwell 2 Rangers 0
Boss Pedro Caixinha admits he might have made his Rangers side anxious before their 2-0 Betfred Cup semi-final defeat by Motherwell.
Ahead of the Hampden Park showdown the Portuguese coach had said: “We only have two options — to win or win.”
However, during an ill-tempered encounter, a Louis Moult double sent the Fir Park side into next month’s final against Celtic.
To add to his woes, the Rangers boss and opposite number Stephen Robinson were sent to the stand, where Gers’ South Africa-based chairman Dave King sat and watched the Ibrox side toil.
Caixinha said: “Congratulations to the team that won the game. I assume all the responsibility because the team was a shade of what it needs to be.
“The opponents played better, we let them play their own game. Our performance was really, really poor. Maybe I created a lot of expectation, maybe I created a sort of anxiety. I don’t know why they underperformed. It is up to me.”
Both managers were ordered off by referee Steven McLean after clashing on the touchline after the already-booked Motherwell striker Ryan Bowman caught Fabio Cardoso with an elbow in an incident which went unpunished by the referee.
He said: “I just get a little bit angry after I saw Fabio’s nose.
“We knew they were going to play aggressively but there are rules that don’t allow elbows and that was all.”
A delighted Well manager Stephen Robinson was keen to play down his dismissal.
He said: “It is a passionate game. I was sticking up for my players and so was he. I have a lot of respect for Pedro so it wasn’t personal.
“He thought one of our players should have been sent off, as I did with his player in the first half. Let’s make this about the players, not about me and him.”
While joking about having a good vantage point of Moult’s second goal, the Northern Irishman was serious about his side’s application.
“We battled and scrapped and as the second half went on we got stronger and stronger.
“We knew at half-time that we were fitter and stronger than them and we knew our quality would shine through in the end.
“Don’t forget Ryan Bowman. You have two boys up giving everything and with that quality of finishing we got what we deserved.”
Next month’s final opponents are currently unbeaten in 60 domestic games but Robinson said: “It would be nice to beat them. Someone has to beat them. Why not us?
“There have been dark days at this club and people have struggled and it is just nice to repay the faith they have in me.
“I am chuffed to bits.”
Motherwell: Carson, Tait, Hartley, Cadden, McHugh, Moult, Bowman (Fisher, 90 mins) Rose, Dunne, Kipre, Campbell (Bigirimana, 72 mins). Unused subs: Griffiths, Hammell, Grimshaw, Frear, Tanner.
Rangers: Alnwick, Tavernier, Alves, Cardoso (McCrorie, 67 mins), John, Candeias, Jack, Dorrans, Windass, Pena (Nemane, 60 mins), Morelos. Unused subs: Foderingham, Gomes, Herrera, Hodson, Holt.
Man of the match: Louis Moult
Match rating: 7/10
Referee: Steven McLean