A Spe­cial ap­proach

RANGERS By Nick Rodger New boss be­lieves ‘aca­demic’ in­flu­ence of fel­low coun­try­man Jose Mourinho and other Por­tuguese coaches can work at Ibrox

Sunday Herald - - 19.03.17 SPORT -

GIVEN that he’s en­joyed the kind of here, there and ev­ery­where so­journs that used to be the re­serve of Ju­dith Chalmers in her pomp, Pe­dro Caix­inha prob­a­bly doesn’t have much bother ac­cli­ma­tis­ing to new sur­round­ings.

Tak­ing up a job with ei­ther side of the Old Firm should come with a ‘yel­low, be aware’ warn­ing from the Met Of­fice due to the in­her­ent pres­sures and ex­pec­ta­tions but Caix­inha’s sunny dis­po­si­tion makes for a pos­i­tive out­look.

It was a typ­i­cally change­able Glas­gow day of blus­tery show­ers and sun­shine when the new Rangers man­ager sat down for a blether af­ter tak­ing his first se­ries of train­ing ses­sions. It must have been a queer old dif­fer­ence from the warmth of Al-Gharafa in Qatar. Be­fore that, it was the pleas­ant Mex­i­can climes of San­tos La­guna. At least the Pais­ley La­goon Cen­tre is not too far way.

Hav­ing seen more clubs than Frank McAven­nie on a night out, the well-trav­elled Caix­inha, who has a dozen ports of call to his name rang­ing from his na­tive Por­tu­gal to Ro­ma­nia, Saudi Ara­bia and oth­ers in be­tween, is cer­tainly in­trepid.

The 46-year-old will be un­der the mi­cro­scope like never be­fore at Rangers but he is cer­tainly ready for the chal­lenge and ex­udes a con­fi­dence and a charm that quickly won over those wait­ing to speak to him. In this capri­cious game, of course, that could change af­ter a few ropey re­sults but Caix­inha is not pon­der­ing any of that.

He is Rangers’ cho­sen one but it is the Spe­cial One who has helped to mould his foot­balling phi­los­o­phy. Jose Mourinho, the cur­rent boss at Manch­ester United, has blazed a trail for Por­tuguese man­agers in the Euro­pean theatre and Caix­inha is among the dis­ci­ples try­ing to fol­low his lead.

“Jose in­spired all of the coaches from my gen­er­a­tion,” said the new man at the Ibrox helm. “He was the first one and we are the ones that came be­hind. He gave us the chance to do that. He is unique, of course, but we share the same phi­los­o­phy. He is a very nice guy. The last time I saw him was in Lis­bon at a post-grad­u­a­tion event. He is a fan­tas­tic guy who is al­ways avail­able to re­ceive you and to talk to you. He is friendly.”

While the old fash­ioned man­ager may been more visceral, Caix­inha adopts a more cere­bral ap­proach. Whether he can con­jure up some E=mc2 for­mula for suc­cess at Rangers re­mains to be seen but this stu­dent of the beau­ti­ful game is ea­ger to im­part his knowledge and reap the re­wards like some of his other chin-stroking com­pa­tri­ots. “You just have to look at the suc­cess of Por­tuguese coaches,” he added. “Look at Manch­ester City (in the Cham­pi­ons League)? They were knocked out by Monaco who have Leonardo Jardim in charge. We have many coaches who come from the aca­demic side. Car­va­hal at Sheffield Wed­nes­day, Vi­tor Pereira is the same and also Rui Vi­to­ria at Ben­fica. There is also Jose Pe­seiro, who I worked with for many years. There are a lot of coaches com­ing from that same aca­demic back­ground.”

The rough and tum­ble of the Scot­tish game of­ten means that in­com­ers with their new-fan­gled ways are greeted with the kind of sneer­ing, nar­row-eyed sus­pi­cion that used to be the re­serve of the Lud­dites. Ei­ther that, or they are hailed from the roof tops as pro­gres­sive thinkers who are go­ing to drag Scot­tish foot­ball out of the mire of medi­ocrity. Well, un­til re­sults start go­ing against them. The fluc­tu­at­ing for­tunes ex­pe­ri­enced by Ian Cathro in his short time at Hearts has il­lus­trated the fu­ri­ously fickle na­ture of the beast. “Maybe Scot­tish foot­ball needs its own Mourinho and let’s hope Ian Cathro can be the guy,” said Caix­inha, as he cham­pi­oned the Dundee-born man­age­rial rookie.

Caix­inha is get­ting stuck into his new role and the in­ter­na­tional break this com­ing week will al­low him to ac­cel­er­ate the get­ting-to-know-you process. “When you’re start­ing with a new group it’s al­ways prefer­able to have longer weeks,” he said.

“Next week is go­ing to be im­por­tant be­cause the work will go from Tues­day to Sun­day. They will get used to our phi­los­o­phy of how we work. We will get more time to work with the play­ers. For us to pass our ideas and for them to be con­vinced of the ideas, we need time. I can­not run away from the weather con­di­tions, the long balls or the im­por­tance of the sec­ond balls (in the Scot­tish game). I need to know a lot about Scot­tish foot­ball – ev­ery­thing.”

New Rangers man­ager Pe­dro Caix­inha leads by ex­am­ple at

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