By Alex Stevens
Neil McCann has claimed he was “very surprised” that Pedro Caixinha had publicly announced the Rangers team 36 hours before the kick-off of their Wednesday night stalemate against Kilmarnock.
With the Scottish giants ravaged by injuries and unavailabilities, the new manager took the surprise decision to start his press conference on Tuesday by naming his starting XI for the Rugby Park encounter.
Rookie defenders David Bates, who started at centre-back, and Myles Beerman, who was installed at left-back, were handed their Rangers debuts in an unfamiliar and inexperienced back four.
The new pair helped Rangers secure a clean sheet in the goalless Scottish Premiership draw but Caixinha’s decison did not sit well with ex-Rangers midfielder McCann as he claimed that it played into the hands of Kilmarnock boss Lee McCulloch.
Asked if he was surprised by Caixinha’s early announcement, McCann told Sky Sports 2’s live coverage of the match: “I was very surprised. I would never have given away my team the day before a match.
“It gives the opposition more time to mount attacks on you, to come up with a game plan, particularly these two boys here (Bates and Beerman).
“It’s made their debuts more difficult, without doubt. Lee McCulloch would have looked at this and thought, ‘We’ll get a winger running at Beerman and I’ll put balls in the box to test Bates out’.”
Rangers have lost ground in the race to finish second over the last week, during which Aberdeen have secured two consecutive Aberdeen victories.
Caixinha’s third-placed side have drawn twice in a row and are now 13 points adrift of Derek McInnes’ team with just seven matches of the campaign remaining.
In other Rangers news, one of the club’s midfielders has agreed the terms of a mammoth new deal.