Many might be tempted to say Pedro Caixinha has a mountain to climb this afternoon to make Rangers the first Scottish side to beat a Brendan Rodgers’ Celtic team and that he has to create a trophy winning make-up in a squad which has lost it from their DNA.
Spending a rare recent two-day break from Murray Park, pounding up to a castle and going to see the world’s first cloned animal, might have been good preparations then for this lunchtime’s Scottish Cup semi-final.
“I went with the family to Edinburgh,” said the 46-year-old of his time off. “It was my third time there, the second time with my wife and the first with my kids. I went to the castle. But I just stayed at the door, I didn’t go inside. I went to the museum, [the national museum of Scotland] I went to see Dolly [the sheep].
“You have more tourists in Edinburgh. Some guys were coming up to me and saying ‘football’ and I was saying ‘sorry I don’t get you’. Or “it must be someone which looks like me, not me”. Some people recognised me but the majority were tourists just like me. So we were enjoying it.”
Caixinha recognises a victory for his team today could earn him massive buy-in from the club’s support who are daring to believe he could improve the team’s fortunes following a first victory in a high-profile encounter for 18 months that was earned with the 3-0 victory at Pittodrie a fortnight ago.
But while judgments may be made on Caixinha over what happens at Hampden this afternoon, the Rangers manager of five weeks will not make decisions on the worth of his players on the basis of the semi-final and next week’s league derby against opponents they will always be benchmarked against.
“Winning this match coming up, and then the next one, will be nothing to do with my decisions about the future. Nothing. What this match means is that it’s a semi-final and that by winning it we will be in a final. Being in that final would allow us the chance to win a trophy. But it’s about the moment. Nothing else before it or after it.
“Even if the players stay or go, it doesn’t matter. Just be focused on winning one trophy.
“Do you know how many trophies we’re having inside that dressing room? We have 20.
“Do you know how many players from the entire squad have the experience of winning those trophies? Five players. So that means, if you take Michael [O’Halloran] – just one. If you take Danny [Wilson] – two or three. If you take Philippe [Senderos] with two. If you take Kenny [Miller] , with the most. And if you take Niko [Kranjcar] , then all the others don’t know what it means to win a trophy. So, I don’t care if my decisions are going for them or bad. I want these guys to win a trophy, we want them to win a major trophy.”