Rangers managers tend to learn fairly early not to provide the media with hostages to fortune but Pedro Caixinha is a man who marches to the beat of his own drum. Yesterday he claimed that he will announce to reporters next week the names of the new signings he will bring to Ibrox next season while simultaneously identifying those players currently there but who will have no further part to play under his watch.
Consequently, he has put himself under pressure not only to conclude business with his transfer targets in an unusually short window of opportunity but also to persuade his peripheral players to leave.
Both courses of action will presumably require substantial funding but Caixinha exuded confidence as he spoke at the club’s training ground ahead of tomorrow’s final Premiership game against St Johnstone at McDiarmid Park.
“I will have all the pleasure to maybe give you two pages next week – one for players in and one for players out and your question regarding to that will be answered,” he said.
“When I talk about this club, the history and tradition, that is all involved down there. Things go like this; first of all, the players need to know which club they are coming to. They need to feel that passion just to represent such a big club like this. Of course, the team needs to be all the time up at the top. But when they come by my hand and they know me, they are playing first of all for the club but they are also playing for me and you start to know how I am and that I am looking to build the team under my image.
“You will have two pages, whether it is one name or ten [on them]. I will be glad to give the two pages as soon as possible. Maybe it will be one then the other but you will have two pages.”
Caixinha has won only half of his ten matches since replacing Mark Warburton, a win ratio which, if it has not been improved by October, will surely see the Portuguese in danger of losing his job. Former Celtic, Arsenal and Scotland striker Charlie Nicholas, whom Caixinha claimed never to have heard of, said on Sky this week that the 46-year-old had made Rangers worse, and Hibernian manager Neil Lennon stated that he “talked a good game” while being “average, to say the least”. The target of those barbs was unmoved, however. “I came here to do my job, that’s all,” said Caixinha. “Media is part of my job but I will do things and say things that are in my head. I will give my opinion and not what is good for you to hear from me. I take my statements and I take responsibility all the time.
“I have my own mind and I won’t act differently if I am being criticised. I don’t know the football commentators. Outside these walls, people know this club is getting ready for action again. It’s being rebuilt and that’s maybe what is [annoying] some people.
“It’s not the first time I have been in a new environment. I just focus on my work; as long as I have the support of this club and the support of the people who brought me to this club I am fine with it.
“Football is about work, football is about progress and football is about having a strong and competitive team that goes on the pitch and gives everything to win matches.”
The current campaign had been heralded by the hubristic “Going for 55” slogan but if Rangers are unable to score in Perth they will fail to hit that goals tally. It has been a car crash of a season for Rangers and full-back James Tavernier admits he realised after the opening fixture at home to Hamilton (who could be relegated today) that their ambitions would not be realised.
“It was the first game of the season, we wanted to win and it was a 1-1 draw,” he said. “You don’t want to start the season with a draw. That wasn’t an early indication but it was the starting point. Some of the results were disappointing and, even in some games that we won, you felt it wasn’t our best performance.”