Edinburgh: Rangers caretaker manager Kenny McDowall said sorry to the Glasgow club`s support after his first match in charge ended in a 4-0 thrashing by Hibernian.
It was a painful start for former assistant boss McDowall, who was handed the reins earlier in the week after manager Ally McCoist was placed on gardening leave.
It followed yet another turbulent week off the pitch at the Glasgow giants, who gained approval for a new share issue to raise the £8m it needs to continue trading for the next 12 months at a stormy AGM earlier this week.
"I`m hugely disappointed, especially for our support who were here today. I think the best team won and I don`t have any excuses at all," a clearly despondent McDowall said.
"Obviously finding yourself 2-0 down after 12 minutes isn`t an ideal start. All the work that we done during the week went up in the air after that.
"Normally you get a response when there is a change in management but that didn`t happen for us today.
"It was very disappointing and I`d just like to apologise to our support for letting them down. It`s been a very difficult day."
The hosts dominated the match at Easter Road while the visitors looked dispirited and disjointed.
McDowall said he would shoulder the blame for the result but said the players needed to take more responsible for their performances on the pitch.
"Obviously heads are down in there and we`ll have a chat on Monday and go over the game again," the Gers gaffer said.
"They just did not look organised at times. They were not where they should have been on the park.
"I will accept the responsibility for the result. I set the team up and the boys will accept responsibility for the performances. It was not good enough.
"At the moment we`ve got to keep working away. I`ve been told to carry on so I`ll need to try and get the players up and ready for their next game."
The defeat, Rangers` fifth in just 17 matches, all but ends their hopes of beating Hearts to the one automatic promotion spot back to the Premiership, with the Jambos opening up a 15 point lead at the top of the table with their 1-0 defeat of Livingston.
It leaves Rangers in the unenviable position of trying to gain promotion via the play-offs.
"I was under no illusions that this was going to be easy. I`ve been working with Ally McCoist and Walter Smith and it`s always been tough," McDowall said of the task facing the Ibrox club.
"It`s a tough job anyway at the best of times even when it`s going well so I knew it was going to be a tough job."
First half strikes from David Gray and Jason Cummings followed by goals from Scott Robertson and Liam Craig after the break helped secure Hibernian`s biggest margin of victory over Rangers since 1912 and closed the gap between the clubs to four points.
"I think when you are standing in this position very rarely do you talk about a complete performance. But I feel as if today the lads have just produced a complete performance," Hibs manager Alan Stubbs said.
"We`ve worked hard all week on where and how we were going to hurt Rangers and it`s nice when everything comes together."
Elsewhere on Saturday, Celtic increased their lead at the top of the Premiership to five points despite a goalless draw with bottom of the table Ross County after nearest challengers Dundee United lost 2-1 to St Johnstone.