Rangers hire matador to stop runaway bull
Who is Caixinha, and what does he want?
Rangers’ search for Mark Warburton’s replacement ended when hiring bull-fighter Pedro Caixinha, and the Portuguese boss has been handed the task of stopping Celtic running away with Scottish football.
The 46-year-old arrives from Qatari club Al-Gharafa, and has already completed his first two tasks – winning over the Rangers support, and annoying followers of Celtic. One think he is the man to take their club forward, the other consider him to be a nobody from nowhere, who couldn’t help cash-strapped Rangers with a magic hat.
Caixinha believes Rangers are the biggest club in Scotland
Pedro certainly didn’t seem fazed when first facing the notoriously difficult Scottish press, telling everyone who would listen that he knows the history of the famous Glasgow club, but wants to make them bigger than they have ever been before. That means challenging Celtic for the title next season, and getting Rangers back into European football.
He also set out his short-term goals, and they didn’t lack ambition either, targeting the Scottish Cup and a second-place finish in the Premiership this term. Celtic are long gone over the hill, but Aberdeen remain in control of second, and will take some budging. Rangers face Celtic in the semi-finals of the cup at Hampden.
That will come as a huge relief to long-suffering fans of the Govan club, especially after the dull, awkward press conferences of the Warburton era, which seemed an inconvenience to the English boss. The Scottish Cup and second-place, that would be some way to finish a horrible season for The Bears, but Pedro is also thinking along the same lines as those paying an entrance fee when admitting that he wants to play good football, but wants to win matches more. That should see an end to the pretty passing style of Warbs, which saw Rangers dominate the stats sheet, but fail to win many points.
Local knowledge important to Pedro’s plans
Caixinha says he wants to appoint an assistant who understands Scottish football and Rangers football club, and he could do a lot worse than Graeme Murty, who has been putting out fires since Warburton resigned. What any help will tell him however is that every single Rangers player are playing for their futures at Ibrox. There have been far too many passengers in the squad this season, and far too many nicking a wage from the club.
That uncertainty will spark many in blue to life, both on the park and in the stands, but we’ll see what the current crop of players are really made of. That should result in an upturn in form and Coral have Rangers at 6/1 to win the Scottish Cup. A market headed by Celtic at 4/9 – which seems plenty short – while Aberdeen rate as the main danger at 4/1. Hibs make up the numbers, with 10/1 available for two in-a-row.