PEDRO CAIXINHA believes Rangers’ next two games will be totally different challenges – even if they are at the same stadium and against the same opponent.
The Light Blues will travel to Firhill, or the Energy Check Stadium as it will now be known, on Friday night looking to claim three important Premiership points, with Alan Archibald’s Partick Thistle desperate for the same to kick-start their season.
The Jags have just one point from their five league games so far after they drew 1-1 with Ross County at the Global Energy Stadium on Saturday, and that tally means they sit tenth in the table with Kilmarnock and Dundee below them.
Rangers will return to Firhill on Tuesday night for a Betfred Cup quarter-final showdown but Caixinha will not be giving this too much thought until the clubs’ first league meeting of the 2017/18 campaign is done and dusted.
The manager, speaking at his pre-match press conference at Ibrox today, said: “I’m just here to speak about the next one.
I cannot prepare two games at the same time, even if they are the same opponent and at the same ground.
“For sure they are going to be totally different matches, so one we are fighting for three points and we are going to be very concentrated to get those three points.
“The other one is going to be the most important game of the season because it’s a knockout game and it gives you a pass to the semi-final of one competition.
“So one at a time, same stadium and same opponent, but totally different contests and different games for sure.”
The Gers boss knows that Thistle have endured a tough start to their Premiership season but he will not focus on their league position or previous results when preparing his side for the short trip to Maryhill on Friday evening.
He explained: “I’m not looking at that situation. When I analyse the team of course we need to understand the moment that the teams are passing, but normally I don’t go to watch them on the position they are on the table.
“To be honest and to be fair, just after our match [on Saturday against Dundee] I didn’t care about our position on the table, as long as you win on the match days you know that your result is going to be the most important.
I went to watch their first match [at Easter Road], I went there to watch Hibs but I also watched Partick and it’s one team that is having a positive approach to the game.
“It’s quite understandable the way, if you watch them in two or three matches like we did, you understand the ideas that Archibald is having for the team.
“It’s one team that is playing positive as I told you, they have good players, they are strong on set pieces and they have players who can decide a match.
“So we need to have that in consideration rather than the position or the start they have in the league and show all respect, total respect, to the opponent by getting on the game with the total desire to win it and play the way we want to play.”