Steven Gerrard admits the blame lies with him as he prepares to finish his first season as Rangers boss empty-handed.
Gers’ last remaining hope of landing a trophy was snuffed out as they were dumped out of the William Hill Scottish Cup with a 2-0 defeat by Aberdeen.
Goals from Niall McGinn and Connor McLennan gave Derek McInnes’ Reds their third win over the Light Blues in Glasgow this term.
The Dons have now booked another Hampden showdown with Celtic next month.
Gerrard – whose side trail the Hoops by eight points in the Ladbrokes Premiership title race – has not been scared to let rip at his players this season when his team have failed to deliver.
But this time he took responsibility for a defeat that leaves Rangers with little but pride to play for.
The former Liverpool skipper said: “From start to finish, we were miles off tonight in every department. It is very difficult to sit here and find any positivity.
“I’ve put this squad together and I’ve picked the team and tactics, so I’ll take full responsibility for it.
“I’ve sat here on a lot of occasions and took a bit of praise and accept that, so I’ll sit here and take responsibility for it.
“Those players go out there to represent the players and myself first and foremost but anyone connected with Rangers can’t be going away with any positives tonight.
“It’s a big problem and challenge for me now. If a result and performance puts the spotlight on me, that’s fine. I’ll take it on the chin, I’m man enough to accept that.
“It’s my job now to try and move on from this which will be tough because it was such a big game and we knew what was at stake.
“Credit to Aberdeen, they deserve to be going to Hampden. We can’t expect to be going anywhere near that place after a performance like that.
“It’s my job now to lift the players, keep us together until the end of the season and then see where we are. Then we’ll see what the summer brings.”
McGinn pounced on a mistake by Glen Kamara to fire Aberdeen ahead just three minutes in. Ryan Jack came close to levelling the tie late in the first half as he rattled the post.
But there was no way back for Gers after McLennan coolly stroked home just past the hour mark after Stevie May cut the Gers defence in two.
McInnes hailed Dons youngsters like Dean Campbell – the 17-year-old making his first start – and McLennan but admits seeing skipper Graeme Shinnie pick up a yellow card that now sees him banned for the semi-final is a blow.
McInnes said: “When the draw was made, winning the trophy would seem a million miles away for most people but we’ve overcome a big hurdle tonight and we’re going to have to overcome another hurdle in the semi-final against a good Celtic team.
“I’m disappointed like last season that we’re missing Shinnie for the semi-final. Last year we were without I think four players with suspension and injuries and it had an impact on us.
“We’ve dealt without big players tonight – Greg Stewart, Gary Mackay-Steven and Sam Cosgrove probably would have been my front three. Niall McGinn and Connor McLennan play up and get the goals. Hopefully, we’ve got enough depth when the semi-final comes round to get into a final.
“Dean did well. He’s a mature player for 17 and he will have learned a lot. I’ve got shoes older than Dean but he deals with everything. It’s great for me to see that.”
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