Ange Postecoglou’s side were irresistible at times in the opening 45 minutes of 4-0 defeat, but they were still given a helping hand by the visitors, who switched off at key moments. Although many thought the one-sided nature of Celtic’s 3-0 win in the same fixture in February couldn’t be repeated, it was.
Despite knowing what to expect, Rangers seemed even more helpless on this occasion. As in February, they were 3-0 down by half-time after a double from Liel Abada and Jota’s exquisite chip. Substitute David Turnbull added a fourth after he was gifted the ball by goalkeeper Jon McLaughlin.
“Of course (I am) very disappointed with the result and with the way we conceded the goals,” Van Bronckhorst said afterwards.
“I think it was a repeat of the game we played in February with quickly a taken throw-in and free-kick. We knew that was one of their strengths and both times we weren’t ready and we conceded goals.
“You know when you concede early goals like that you make them stronger and make it more difficult for yourself.”
Rangers are now five points adrift of leaders Celtic. Winning the first Old Firm game of the season is not a guarantee of title success – Rangers triumphed this time last year – but it does already look ominous for Van Bronckhorst’s side.
“We have lost five points, there is still a lot to be played for with three games against Celtic,” said the Ibrox manager. “We have to move on, get stronger and make sure the moments we had today can never happen again, no matter which opposition we play.”
Van Bronckhorst admitted that the manner of defeat means it will be a job to lift his players ahead of Wednesday night’s opening Champions League group game against Ajax.
“Of course [the result] is not good for confidence," he said. “You should feel the way we all do. You can’t look forward to Wednesday, everyone needs to learn and reflect.
"The same for me. We are feeling very disappointed and tomorrow we have to work forward to concentrate on Ajax.”