PEDRO Caixinha last night insisted he is pleased Scott Brown is available to face his Rangers side in the William Hill Scottish Cup semi-final after Celtic appealed against the red card their captain received last weekend.
Brown will be free to play at Hampden on Sunday after the Parkhead club challenged the decision by referee Don Robertson to order him off for a challenge on Liam Boyce of Ross County in Dingwall.
The Scottish champions have been accused of unfairly manipulating the rules to enable the midfielder, who has been outstanding in their four meetings with their city rivals this season, to play at Hampden.
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It had been widely accepted that Brown deserved to receive a red card for his rash challenge on Boyce in a bad-tempered end to a match at the Global Energy Stadium which County drew after being awarded a controversial late penalty.
However, Caixinha, who will be taking charge of Rangers for the first time in a Glasgow derby match, admitted he would have taken the same course of action if he had been in the same position.
The Portuguese coach maintained he was glad the Scotland internationalist would feature - because he wants his players to test themselves against the strongest possible opposition.
“We are glad that Brown can play because it’s going to make it a very interesting match,” he said. “We want the opponent’s squad to be at full strength with all their best players.
“I'm not talking about possibilities, I'm talking about reality. The reality is Brown is going to play. And that means they are going with their best players and best squad. I am glad to face them under those conditions to test ourselves. I am confident my midfielders can deal with him.
“I think all of the Celtic team is good, not one player. They have very good relations among the players. They know perfectly well what they have to do in each moment of the game.”
Caixinha added: “When someone comes and breaks the rules you have other rules to test those rules. We all do it. If I over speed and I cannot afford to receive the ticket I will do something to avoid receiving it. Why not? It's the human side.
“The laws are such that the lawyers know how to test them. That's not a criticism. Of course if we were in the same situation we would do the same thing clearly.”
Celtic are undefeated in 40 domestic fixtures under Brendan Rodgers and are looking to add the Scottish Cup to the Betfred Cup and Ladbrokes Premiership and win only the fourth treble in their history.
Caixinha admitted that he admired what his counterpart had achieved this season. “I respect Brendan,” he said. “He’s had a huge career for someone who is younger than me - he’s known worldwide - so I need to respect him and especially what he is doing with his team.
“I haven’t analysed his previous teams, like Liverpool. But this team plays very good football and has a clear idea about what the coach wants. So I respect him because he’s doing a fantastic job. But now it is time to face him.”
Meanwhile, Caixinha admitted that Clint Hill, who has been sidelined with a hamstring injury, had an outside chance of playing, but stressed that Lee Wallace, the club captain and left back who has been out after undergoing a hernia operation, wouldn’t be involved.
That means that Myles Beerman, the 18-year-old Maltese left back who has played in the last three games, is almost certain to feature.
“We will see if Clint can be with us or not,” he said. “I am going to talk to him to see how things are going and it's a possibility. To have him in condition would make it an option.”