Rangers have admitted Pedro Caixinha failed to meet their expectations both on and off the pitch after they took what had for some time appeared the inevitable decision to sack him.
The Portuguese coach was formally relieved of his duties yesterday afternoon following a morning board meeting convened and overseen by chairman Dave King.
Wednesday night’s 1-1 draw at home to Kilmarnock, on the back of last Sunday’s Betfred Cup semi-final loss to Motherwell at Hampden, proved the tipping point for King and his fellow directors. It resulted in Rangers slipping to fourth place in the Premiership, already eight points behind leaders Celtic after just ten games of the campaign.
Caixinha, appointed as successor to Mark Warburton on 11 March this year, was in charge for just 231 days and 26 matches. It is the shortest tenure of any permanent manager in Rangers’ history, eclipsing the previous mark of only 31 games at the helm by Paul le Guen back in 2006-07.
Graeme Murty, the club’s development coach, will be in interim charge of Rangers for their Premiership fixture against Hearts at Murrayfield tomorrow. It is a second spell in the caretaker role for Murty who oversaw six games in between Warburton’s departure and Caixinha’s arrival earlier this year.
Rangers say they are keen to recruit a permanent replacement for Caixinha as soon as they can but stress they will nonetheless take as long as required to try to ensure they secure the right candidate this time around. Director of football Mark Allen, who joined Rangers from Manchester City after Caixinha’s arrival, is expected to have a significant role in the recruitment process on this occasion.
Aberdeen manager Derek McInnes, a former Rangers player, is among the early favourites for the vacancy. A hefty compensation payment would be required to extricate him from his contract at Pittodrie, however, with the Ibrox board already having to fund pay-offs for Caixinha and his backroom staff of Helder Baptista, Pedro Malta and Jose Belman who were all on three-year deals.
It is understood King felt Rangers had been left with no option this week but to call time on the Caixinha experiment. Results and performances have failed to show any signs of improvement and progress this season, despite a heavily-funded summer signing spree which allowed Caixinha to radically reshape the first-team squad. Some of Caixinha’s public pronouncements and touchline conduct were also believed to have been a source of concern at boardroom level.
“The decision to part company with Pedro was taken after careful consideration and the search for a new manager will begin immediately,” read the statement from Rangers confirming Caixinha’s exit.
“Pedro was appointed in March this year but results have been disappointing and not commensurate with the level of investment that was made available.
“Graeme Murty, head development squad coach, will take charge of the first team in the interim, just as he did earlier this year.
“The priority is to appoint a new manager as quickly as possible, but the board will take as much time as is necessary to secure the right person capable of representing Rangers and providing the brand of football supporters rightly expect.
“We, the board, appreciate this is a difficult time for all Rangers supporters and we thank you for your patience and know Graeme and the players will receive your full backing in the days ahead.
“We thank Pedro and his backroom staff for their efforts and commitment and wish them well for the future.”
Caixinha won 14 of his 26 games as manager, drawing five and losing seven. The defeats included two domestic cup semi-finals, a record home 5-1 drubbing by Celtic and the humiliating Europa League first qualifying round elimination by Luxembourg part-timers Progres
Murty may also remain in charge for Rangers’ home game against Partick Thistle on 4 November, allowing them to utilise the next international break to conclude their search for a new manager before they return to action again against Hamilton Accies at Ibrox on 18 November.
While McInnes appears to be the stand-out candidate, others being quickly linked with the post include ex-Rangers boss Alex McLeish, St Johnstone manager Tommy Wright and former Derby County and Nottingham Forest manager