The Portuguese coach won’t be able to turn the Rangers team he helmed for the first time at the weekend into a potentially championship-winning side. But with his budget, and the smattering of serviceable performers he has at his disposal, he can surely draw better from the Ibrox side than what they have served up for so much of this Premiership campaign. With second-placed Aberdeen showing no signs of cracking, though, Rangers will need to be a whole lot better to bridge the eight-point lead the Pittodrie men hold in the race for runners-up to Celtic.
Caixinha has made great play of Rangers both hunting with possession and hunting down possession at pace and with a pack mentality. Certainly, at the weekend there was a greater propulsion to Rangers “transitions” – as is the en vogue coaching jargon. The passive, for the sake of it, passing and possession under Mark Warburton made for a ponderous, grinding nature to Rangers’ play at times.
It was not in evidence as Emerson Hyndman proved one of the four scorers that allowed the Ibrox men to notch up a biggest league win of the season after their new manager’s team talk had encouraged them to “enjoy” playing as if they were “kids”.
The on-loan Bournemouth attacker, at 20, almost is. He had some interesting things to say about breaks with Warburton’s methods that he had detected in Caixinha’s first week on the training pitch at Murray Park.
Hyndman, pictured right, was asked how Caixinha was different from Warburton and offered up that he was “a very organised manager”. That could be taken as a slight on the Englishman but Hyndman stood by his assessment when asked if more attention had been paid to an opponent than there would have been previously.
“He works in a way that is very structured and there is a great attention to detail,” the youngster said. “He pays attention not just to us but to the other team and he prepares us both on and off the ball. I think you could see when we went out there that we all had different kinds of movements and we were reading each other very well.”
Hamilton forward Dougie Imrie, a player on the receiving end of a Rangers side clearly with their tails up, had perhaps the most intriguing observations as to the changing face of the Ibrox team.
With his side bottom of the Premiership pile, Imrie welcomed a talking point other than the grim battle to avoid relegation that was provided by Caixinha’s first game.
“Obviously, Rangers’ ideas are the same. They like to move the ball side to side. I think they maybe like to get the ball in behind more quickly than Mark Warburton’s teams,” he said. “He wanted to play side to side a lot more, where Pedro seems to want it in behind a lot quicker, with the two wide men coming off the line a little bit and allowing [Lee] Wallace and [James] Tavernier to get in behind our full backs.
“Maybe that is something he has picked up on, or maybe it is his style of play, but they moved the ball a lot quicker than at the start of the season when we were here and we drew 1-1. But obviously their movement is different class.”