He was a goalkeeper during his playing days
An article in the first edition of the Scottish football quarterly publication Nutmeg wondered why more goalkeepers don’t become managers, seeing as they have time to watch and analyse the game, as oppose to other footballers who don’t have such a luxury when they’re in the heart of the action.
It certainly seems that Caixinha was more suited to studying the game than playing it, as the most noted side he starred for, Desportivo Beja, are currently located in the district leagues of Portuguese football (fourth tier).
Despite never getting close to the limelight, Caixinha still harboured a deep affection for the game and decided to hang up his boots at age 28 to begin his coaching career.
He’s had a well-travelled career
To date, Caixinha has worked in his native Portugal, Greece, Romania, Saudi Arabia, Mexico and now Qatar, where he’s manager of Al-Gharafa Sports Club. That doesn’t include the various places he’s travelled as part of his scouting work, which he’s done on and off in between breaks from coaching over his 18-year career away from the pitch. He was even on Celtic’s payroll at one point after the Parkhead side expanded their scouting network in 2009.
He would later leave to become the assistant manager of the Saudi Arabian national team before finally landing a gig of his own with U.D. Leiria. He led the Portuguese side to 10th in the league table in his only season there, but resigned amid rumours he and the players were not getting paid. The club were relegated at the end of the following campaign.
By that time Caixinha had already got himself a new job with C.D. Nacional. He helped them to seventh in the table, but quit later in the year after a dismal start to the new campaign.
Did an excellent job with Club Santos Laguna in Mexico
His standout role, and the one optimistic Rangers fans will be focusing on, came with Santos Laguna in Mexico. The Green-and-Whites won the Clausura championship in 2015. This came at the end of a season where the club finished eighth in the regular season table, only just sneaking into the play-offs. Although, it should be noted, they did have the youngest squad in the league at the time.
To explain Mexican football further: the top flight calendar has two separate seasons, each with their own league and playoffs. Santos, under the guidance of Caixinha, won one of those. He also led them to two second place finishes in the league table and two semi-final appearances in the play-offs. This was added to by success in the form of a domestic cup and the Mexican version of the Super Cup/Charity Shield, where the two play-off champions square off against each other.
He resigned a short time into the following season with Santos winning only one of their first five.
Named the 36th best football coach in the world in 2013/14
This was according to the Football Coach World Ranking. The voters were obviously impressed with the top he did at Santos Laguna the previous season, where he led the club to second and fourth place finishes in the regular season leagues, and a pair of semi-final appearances in the play-offs. It was during the first campaign (Apertura) where they won the cup, beating Puebla on penalties to become the first team to win the trophy.
Viewed as progressive and innovative coach
He’s more Ian Cathro than Dick Campbell, a comparison he may even understand having worked toward his coaching badges in Scotland. Praised for his leadership qualities in the past, he’s viewed as an innovator and someone who embraces modern technology and techniques on the training ground. He wishes his side to impose themselves on opponents and “dominate all the moments of the game”.