Blow for Pedro Caixinha? Carlos Izquierdoz makes admission about Rangers links

New Rangers manager Pedro Caixinha in the stands

The defender, brought to Santos Laguna by Caixinha, will not be joining his former boss at Rangers.

New Rangers manager Pedro Caixinha in the stands

Pedro Caixinha encouraged every Rangers fan to do their best Carlo Ancelotti impression when he made the eyebrow-raising decision to substitute three defenders at half-time against Motherwell. Off went Clint Hill, Lee Hodson and Lee Wallace, a combination of injury, illness and a dreadful first 45 making up a tactical shift that would give Mark Warburton palpitations.

And Rangers fans could be forgiven for wishing a fourth change was permitted to get Rob Kiernan off the Ibrox pitch. Yet, according to the Daily Record, Caixinha may face a challenge upgrading his defensive options.

In the end, a very much unorthodox back three of the wobbling Kiernan and attacking midfield duo Jon Toral and Andy Halliday provided the platform for an improved second-half performance and an eventual 1-1 draw. Yet, it’s fair to say such tactical curveballs should not become a recurring theme at Ibrox.

However, if Caixinha had been hoping to improve his rearguard with a player he knows and trusts, he will have been left disappointed by the news that Santos Laguna centre-back Carlos Izquierdoz (below, right) has signed a new contract.

Carlos Izquierdoz

A typically rugged Argentine defender brought to the Mexican club by Caixinha in 2014, Izquierdoz appeared the kind of no-nonsense operator required in a backline lacking presence.

However, despite admitting interest from Ibrox, the 28-year-old insists that he has no desire to re-unite with his former boss.

"I'd heard the rumours about me joining up with Pedro Caixinha in Scotland,” Izquierdoz said in quotes reported by the Daily Record. “But, for family reasons, I want to stay here.”

Carlos Izquierdoz

38-year-old Clint Hill, Rangers' most dependable centre-back in 2016/17, is out of contract at the end of the season and Izquierdoz may well have been the player capable of replicating the veteran’s commitment.

Yet, Caixinha will now be forced to look elsewhere.

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