It says everything about the entirely one-sided nature of yesterday’s Scottish Cup semi-final that even eternal optimist Kenny Miller could not scrape up a scintilla of comfort about any of it.
The Rangers striker offered only despair about the runaround Celtic gave his team in the 2-0 victory, with the Ibrox side’s unwillingness to engage across the first 45 minutes making for a wholly inauspicious opening derby for new Ibrox manager Pedro Caixinha
“We never got out the traps, gave them too much respect and too much time on the ball. We allowed them to do pretty much whatever they wanted with the ball and it was similar to the opening game of the season at Parkhead [lost 5-1],” conceded Miller.
“We were set up to play in a certain way that we never really got to grips with – especially in the first half.
“Whether it’s individuals not doing the job or maybe not understanding the job... but we definitely gave them too much respect.
“Anybody who saw it would say they had so much time on the ball. You probably only need to look at the possession stats – barring that spell when Celtic were down to ten men, and we had a little bit of the ball.
“But even then, while we were on the ball, we weren’t clinical enough, weren’t moving it quickly. We weren’t threatening their goal – even when they were down to ten men.
“That’s why the first half, for me, was really disappointing.”
That this opening period laid bare the chasm that exists between two teams that are currently separated by 33 points in the league table was something Miller, right, didn’t really challenge as he cast his thoughts to the two teams going again at Ibrox on Saturday for their sixth and final meeting.
“Listen, I think when you look at the league positions, it’s fair to say that, over the course of this season, they’ve been a long, long way ahead of us.
“But, when it comes to a game like this, we should be putting on a far, far better showing than we did. There’s no doubt about it.
“We didn’t stand up to the task in the first half. In the second, we were better. We had more of the ball, we had chances and we were a threat. We weren’t a threat at all in the first half.
“So there are positives we can take from the second half, moving into next week’s game. But listen, there are also positives from the first half – in what we don’t want to be doing next week. As long as we learn from this game.”