By the end of a forgettable night the image was quite fitting. Rangers boss Pedro Caixinha standing in a bush arguing with Gers supporters.

It capped an inglorious night for the club; their return to Europe over as quickly as it started with a 2-0 defeat in Luxembourg against minnows Progrès Niederkorn, who had not won any of their previous 13 European ties or even scored a goal in Europe for 26 years.

Defeat, Rangers' worst in Europe, spells the end of their involvement in this year's competition after a six-year wait. The question, though, is whether it will spell the end for Caixinha.

A 1-0 win over the Luxembourg National Division's fourth-best team at Ibrox was job done so long as a satisfactory result on the continent followed. But in the context of a humbling defeat against a team of part-timers it is another blot in the new boss' copybook, which also includes a thrashing by rivals Celtic last season.

Caixinha did not help matters afterwards, admitting he could not put his finger on why his newly-assembled side struggled. “The unthinkable happened,” he said afterwards. “It is something that only happens once in a lifetime.

“I accept all the responsibility for that happened. I don’t have the answers as to why the players didn’t perform.

“I told the players at half-time that we were not respecting the opponent. You cannot afford to do that.

“We allowed them to start believing and they realised they could harm us. We conceded silly set-pieces which led to both goals.”

Caixinha faced chants of “Out, out, out” from the travelling Rangers fans after the game and when asked about his suitability for the job, said: “Yes, of course [I’m the man to take Rangers forward].

“So I’m strongly convinced I can do it, I’m strongly convinced I have the group to do it and I believe I need to be here to take the group forward.”

Caixinha has not been helped by the fact Rangers' season started in June, a time when the Portuguese would have wanted to be bedding in new signings gently. Not throwing them into a win-or-bust banana skin tie which will set the tone for the start of the Scottish Premiership season.

But that comes with being a team in a league with a low UEFA coefficient. This was not sprung on Caixinha or the players and, though far from ideal, this is what Rangers have been building for in the last six years since being forced to start again at the bottom of the Scottish football pyramid.

Rangers transfer targetsCaptain Lee Wallace knows that only too well. The left-back went down to the fourth tier of Scottish football and helped restore Rangers to the Premiership. Other Scottish and British players, too, would be only too aware of the significance of these ties to Gers supporters.

Yet, on the night, it did not show. Rangers, as per their manager's assessment, expected victory to come with minimal effort. They sat back, knocked the ball around, enjoyed plenty of possession and seemed prepared to wait for the opening which would give them the all important away goal.

It did not come.

Three efforts off the crossbar in the second half barely papered over the cracks and Caixinha will spend the coming days taking a long hard look at the squad he has hastily assembled this summer.

If there were doubts before they have intensified now. Caixinha made three changes from the first leg victory, dropping new loan signing Dalcio, Jason Holt and Martyn Waghorn all making way.

But it made little difference. Rangers failed to dominate proceedings against a team who all have primary sources of income away from football. On paper it should not have been much of a contest.

Yet the Light Blues failed to break down a compact and organised Progrès side and their soft underbelly, set pieces, was exposed twice in nine second-half minutes.

Caixinha was appointed to take Rangers up a level. In much the same way as Paul Le Guen, he was seen as a progressive, tactically astute coach who could bridge the gap on the continent and domestically.

Yet he has already failed with 50 per cent of his remit for the 2017/18 season.

The implications of this defeat go further for Caixinha than simply tightening up on set plays and trying to sort the wheat in his squad from the chaff, though. Failure to even reach the group stage will affect next season's budget and will not help when it comes to further recruits.

The lure of playing for a grand old club the size of Rangers won't diminish but it's hard to imagine Portuguese international Bruno Alves signed up for a season without European trips.

Furthermore, in the same week Peterhead midfielder Simon Ferry claimed it was harder to play in Scotland than England, it is a blow to the prestige of the Scottish game.

All of which could be irrelevant to Caixinha if he does find a significant improvement soon.

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