Has Caixinha made a difference at Rangers? You bet!
Frank Monkhouse | 23 April 2017
Rampant Rangers target Old Firm win
Has new Rangers boss Pedro Caixinha made a difference at Ibrox? Not half! The 46-year-old Portuguese boss has certainly made headlines since taking over from former gaffer Mark Warburton, who left the club in a sorry state.
From making three substitutions at half-time – all defenders – to naming his starting line-up 48 hours in advance, then correctly naming his opponent’s starting line-up 48 hours in advance, making two youth players regular starters and banishing Michael O’Halloran to the U20’s, Caixinha has shown already that he will do things his way. It seems to be having a positive impact on the players too, with a number of Gers’ bigger names telling sports reporters that the team is playing better football than they did under Waburton. More adventurous, less wasteful.
Pedro unbeaten so far
That has been reflected in the results too, and on Sunday Pedro will lead his confident Rangers side into an Old Firm battle in the semi-final of the Scottish Cup on an unbeaten run. Taking charge of an impressive 4-0 debut win over Hamilton at Ibrox on 18th March, Caixinha shows three wins and two draws, keeping four clean-sheets in the process.
Impressive stuff, especially for a defence that leaked goals at will during the Warbs era, but the most eye-catching result so far was the 3-0 hammering of second-place Aberdeen up at Pittodrie earlier this month. Written off before a ball had been kicked, The Gers were ruthless, scoring three goals in four minutes to turn the game on its head, and prove that the sleeping Glasgow giant had awoken.
Rangers warmed up for Sunday’s monumental tie vs a Celtic side who remain unbeaten domestically, with a 2-0 win at Ibrox over in-form Partick Thistle in the Glasgow Deby. It wasn’t a perfect performance, but it was encouraging, to say the least, making light work of a very capable opponent.
Same old Miller, always scoring
That’s pass marks for the manager’s take on defending and creating chances, but one thing that hasn’t changed is Kenny Miller’s eye for goal. He loves a strike against former employers Celtic, and has been on fire since that change at the top, scoring three goals in his last two starts, including a deadly double in the Granite City.
Rangers will look to Kenny Miller to lead the line again against Celtic, and punters will want to keep the Scottish assassin close too, while followers of the stats will be quick to remind us that Rangers knocked Celtic out of the Scottish Cup at Hampden Park in the semi-finals last year. Same again?