Pedro Caixinha refused to elaborate on his reasons for dropping Kenny Miller from his first team squad with the veteran striker’s future at Rangers now in significant doubt.
The 37-year-old was conspicuous by his absence as Rangers eased the pressure on manager Caixinha with a 4-1 victory at Hamilton Accies in the Premiership last night.
Miller was left out in the aftermath of a tumultuous week the Ibrox club which saw Caixinha hold a heated post-mortem with his players in the aftermath of last Saturday’s 2-0 home defeat to Celtic.
Scorer of 113 goals in 288 appearances for Rangers over three spells at the club, Miller is now set to play as an overage player for their development squad in a friendly against Brentford at the London outfit’s training ground tomorrow.
Asked what the issue was with Miller’s omission, Caixinha said: “No, nothing. One of the tasks I have as a manager is to pick the team, pick the 20 players who came with us here tonight.
“I took the decision not to pick him for the match. That’s all. Why should I have any issue with him? He’s just not on the list but he’s one of ours.”
Pressed on whether Miller still had a future with Rangers, the Portuguese coach replied: “I just told you, he’s one of ours.
“Look, I think it’s totally disrespectful to keep asking about Kenny Miller. The 20 boys who were here tonight were fantastic. We are here to talk about this match.
“Kenny was not here because I did not pick him, so I’m not going to talk anymore about that situation.”
Rangers had to respond to the loss of a goal after just 57 seconds by Accies’ Danny Redmond, turning it around with two goals from Cardiff City loanee Declan John and one from Daniel Candeias before half-time. Candeias made a point of running to embrace Caixinha as he celebrated his goal and was joined by several team-mates.
Despite the dismissal of Ryan Jack early in the second half, Rangers increased their lead through a Graham Dorrans penalty before Rakish Bingham missed from the spot for Accies.
“I’m delighted with the reaction that I expected and I asked for after Celtic,” said Caixinha. “The boys reacted strongly. You always need to win a game after losing an Old Firm match. “The boys really reacted – and showed that they are together. They have bonded. For the people who watched today, the most important thing was that the players committed mistakes together and recovered from them together.
“I can express Daniel’s celebration in a word that for me is very important - gratitude. It was a case of him saying ‘You bring me to be here, you bring me to Rangers, you are Rangers manager, I am going to give everything to you, give my life to you.
“I’m a man of principle so I appreciate the gratitude from Daniel. I said that we really need to know what they are made of. I know what they are made of. I sent this challenge to them and they said ‘Yes, we are here to play for Rangers, to play for us – and to play for you because you bring us here’”.
Martin Canning was left to rue his team’s failure to make the most of their ideal start to the match.
“Too many players switched off tonight at crucial times and good teams punish you when you do that,” said Canning. “It was a missed opportunity for us against a Rangers side coming off the back of an Old Firm defeat”