AN angry Pedro Caixinha insisted last night that he is tough enough to handle the Old Firm flak and said he expects his players to play like 'wounded' animals when they take on Celtic for the second time in six days at Ibrox this Saturday.

The Portuguese, who has been criticised in the wake of Sunday's 2-0 Old Firm Scottish Cup semi-final defeat, took umbrage at the suggestion that Sunday's straightforward win for champions Celtic should make him rethink his claim that he had inherited the best squad in Scotland and media reports yesterday that certain players and staff were unhappy about his apparent decision to ask them return to training this summer as early as June 1.

“Not at all," said Caixinha, when asked if he regretted the claim about possessing the best squad in Scotland. "What I said is that when I’m defending my club – the way I’m defending Rangers now – they are the best club in the world, my board and my management are the best in the world. So that also means my players and my squad are the best in the world.

Read more: Pedro Caixinha, in his own words - Rangers' Portuguese manager on front foot ahead of second Old Firm showdownHeraldScotland:

"You are seeing someone that is clear, is frontal, is open – but everyone has his own limit," he added. "When I feel I am not being respected, I’m not going to respect. I’m polite, I’m educated but I’m a f***ing tough guy."

Caixinha said all the innuendo of the reported tweaks to the club's holiday plans - said to have affected the wedding plans of Lee Wallace and Joe Garner - was premature as they have yet to be confimed. “Normally I don’t comment on stories because I don’t read stories," said Caixinha.

"But if those things are coming from inside it is something I need to find out about and when I find out I will act. Our first competitive game is going to be June 29. We normally need five or six weeks pre-season and the season finishes on May 21 so it’s a question of maths. The players don’t need to complain because the plan has not been presented to them yet. At the moment, it’s unofficial and when it is official and when I want you to know it, you will know it."

While judgement on his abilities will be deferred until next season, Saturday at Ibrox presents the Portuguese and his players with an early shot at redemption.

While he said he would not be making drastic changes to the team's style or tactics - he expects more passion from a group who have been 'wounded' by the week's events. "Do you know what it means to have wounded pride? Have you ever faced someone with wounded pride? Well that is the way we are. And that is the way they [the Rangers players] are."