Kenny Miller believes Pedro Caixinha must hit the ground running as Rangers manager, warning there can be no “free shot” in his efforts to convince the club’s support he is the right man for the job.
Caixinha takes charge of Rangers for the first time this afternoon when they face Hamilton Accies at Ibrox on Premiership business.
The Portuguese coach’s immediate targets for the remainder of this season are a second-placed finish in the league and success in the Scottish Cup where they face champions Celtic in next month’s semi-finals.
Rangers striker Miller hopes to see an instant dividend from Caixinha’s arrival and feels a honeymoon period for Mark Warburton’s successor is simply not an option.
“I don’t think anyone who was coming in would be able to have a free shot for the next few months considering the position we’re in at this moment,” said Miller.
“The semi-final of the Scottish Cup is obviously a huge opportunity for us to win a trophy and finish the season on a real high. We’ve still got the capabilities of finishing second if we go on a run. If we can get to grips with what the manager wants quickly then there is no reason why we can’t achieve that as well.
“First impressions of the manager have been positive. It’s been a good few days training, it’s obviously early doors in terms of getting used to his working and how he wants us to play. You can make a difference quite quickly in terms of things you’re going to change and things you’ll focus on, which we’ve done this week. Even at this early stage we’d probably like to see a bit of that involved in the performance on Saturday. I’m sure the manager would.
“Then in the next couple of weeks, when we have the international break, that is a long time when you’re working every day and working hard to get your point across and as players we’re working hard to try to achieve what he’s wanting us to achieve. I’d definitely like to see some real benefits before the end of this season.”
Miller also hopes to convince Caixinha he merits a new contract at the club. The 37-year-old’s current deal expires in the summer but he has no doubts he can continue to perform at Premiership level with Rangers for at least another two seasons.
“The words ‘veteran’ and ‘experienced’ seem to be my new first names,” smiled Miller. “Listen, you can be experienced at 23 in this game. You could already have played at a good level for a number of years by then. But when you get to my age, it’s a case of ‘he played well, but he’s 37’.
“Age is just a number to me. I say I can play on for another two years and that’s realistic in my mind – as long as I’m performing and contributing. I’ll know when I’m not, I won’t need to be told. But I still want to play, because you’re a long time retired.
“Loads of guys have done it, some of them at an incredible level. Ryan Giggs did it until he was 41 at the elite level, albeit he never played as many games as did when he was in his 30s. But he was still contributing massively to a huge club at the top level. So I don’t see any reason why I can’t keep playing for another few years.
“It is a little bit irritating that my age is always referred to these days. I appreciate you are coming to the end of your career at this stage but I want to be judged on what I’m bringing to the team and on my performances on a Saturday.
“People talk about your experience and looking after yourself off the field, but that’s part and parcel of getting to this stage of your career and having a knowledge and understanding of what the club is about.
“But, as I say, I want to be judged on performances. I feel I’ve been pretty consistent this season. Would I have liked to have played even better and have scored more goals? Of course I would.
“I would love to be sitting with 15 goals at this point of the season but so far I’ve got nine. There’s no reason it can’t happen between now and the end of the season. I’m sure with the new manager, we will be working very hard to achieve the goals he has already spoken about.”