Kenny Miller has claimed Celtic defender Jozo Simunovic should have been sent off for a challenge which left the Rangers striker sprawled on the turf at Ibrox on Saturday.
Referee John Beaton allowed play to continue after Simunovic won the ball but Miller insists he could have suffered a serious injury as a result of what he described as “excessive force” from the Croatian.
Celtic were already 2-0 up when the incident occurred in the 25th minute. Miller believes the Scottish champions, who romped to a record 5-1 win, were fortunate not to be reduced to ten men at that stage.
“The Simunovic one in the first half – honest to God,” said Miller. “I’m trying to get out the way of it. If I go and ride that, there is the potential you could get hurt in the tackle. I appreciate he did play the ball, but what’s the term that gets used now? Excessive force? I think there was definitely excessive force in that.”
But Miller, who scored Rangers’ consolation goal, had no complaints about the result on a day which laid bare the gulf in quality between the Old Firm teams.
“I’m part of the squad and I am ashamed and embarrassed to be part of a performance like that,” said the 37-year-old. “It’s the second 5-1 of the season against Celtic, home and away.
“We are all working hard because we know the work that has to be put in for us to be better next season.
“We all know what’s happened to the club over the past five years. We were all hopeful we could get back straight away and challenge in the top flight but it’s not gone according to plan. It is frustrating, where we are at the moment, and we are finding it tough.
“I don’t know whether it’s a gulf in quality or the fact that the mental side of it is creeping in now because we are going into games knowing we have had poor results against Celtic this year.”
Asked how new manager Pedro Caixinha, pictured, can recover from the humbling defeat, Miller replied: “The same way any manager does. This is not the first 5-1 or 6-2 or whatever the results have been against Celtic in the past. It’s about how we react, how the club reacts with the business we will do in the summer. At the moment, it’s about how we react when we play Partick Thistle next week.
“Are we going to whittle the season away, let it run down, maybe win a game and draw a couple? Or are we going to get back and get a positive reaction from this and win our last four games? For me, it’s the latter.”