Pedro Caixinha has set himself the startlingly lofty ambition of winning a European trophy as Rangers manager.
The previously unheralded Portuguese coach, who was formally unveiled by the Ibrox club yesterday, left no-one in any doubt about the intensity of his desire to make his name in by far the highest-profile job of his career so far.
Caixinha takes charge of a Rangers team currently 33 points adrift of the top of the Scottish Premiership, which will see Celtic imminently confirmed as champions for a sixth successive season.
The 46-year-old’s initial target in the remainder of this season is simply to ensure Rangers claim a Europa League qualifying spot, either through their league position or by winning the Scottish Cup. But the bullish Caixinha, who has signed a three-year contract, also outlined his intention to enjoy a long tenure at the club, in which he wants to win silverware both at home and abroad.
“We are talking about European trophies,” said Caixinha. “It will take time, for sure, but at this level you need to set goals up high. If you set them low it’s not enough.
“They need to be realistic at the same time. It’s going to take time to arrive there but it’s important to know you are following those goals. At this time, I agree, it’s not realistic. But we need to set targets which are realistic and ambitious at the same time. My ultimate goal is to even make this club bigger than it is.
“To try to achieve something that maybe we haven’t achieved. To try to give a stability to the club in all levels, in all structures, and to get it on the way in order to be unstoppable.
“This is for sure the biggest club in Scotland. I want to help them come back in this situation and go from there.
“It’s a massive club, a club that always has a responsibility to win. We know what has happened in the recent past, what is happening now and what we want to achieve in the near future. Everything will take time and a lot of work but we are here to do it.
“The history of this club is 144 years, 15 managers – 16 now – that gives you the average of nine years on the job. I’m here to do it even if it takes a long time because I’ve had time to love the clubs I’ve worked with and this is not going to be any different. I’m the guy that’s going to defend Rangers all the way and I’m here to do it.”
Asked if he believed it was realistic for Rangers to mount a more credible Premiership title challenge next season, Caixinha said: “We hope, we hope, we hope. Let’s finish this season first and then we hope to do it. “Scottish football needs a strong Rangers and a strong Rangers is only one that is fighting for titles. So that’s what we will try to do. It will take time. I hope it’s going to be next season, but only time will tell.”
Caixinha has yet to meet Rangers chairman Dave King with the recruitment of Mark Warburton’s replacement as manager having been left in the hands of a three-man panel comprising the club’s managing director Stewart Robertson, finance director Andrew Dickson and board member Graeme Park.
Robertson played down the significance of King’s detachment from the process.
“I don’t know when Pedro and Dave will meet. We will get something organised. It is more important that Pedro spends time getting in among