RANGERS manager Pedro Caixinha admitted that Celtic are miles ahead of his side and has set the Scottish Champions as his benchmark as he sets about a massive summer rebuilding job at Ibrox. The Portuguese noted that Rangers had no players in the PFA Scotland team of the year this season but was hardly surprised at that give the mess that he has to deal with at Ibrox. He hopes to have ‘one or two’ making that team next season.
Talking about Celtic, raised his finger high above his head to indicate just how far Celtic have left the Ibrox side behind.
“They are there. We know where they are, we know where we want to be and we need to work to get there. We want to be compared with Celtic. That’s fine, it’s totally fine.
“Scottish football is about Rangers and Celtic and I’m not going to run away from that fight. I like it,” he said.
“The structure of the club is incredible. It’s incredible the support we have – the facilities and the fans at Ibrox. Everything is great but you need to understand that the main actors in this game are the players.
“When you reach the level of a big team like Rangers, when you make any sort of changes, the knowledge of the footballer you are adding to the game should be like this.
“That’s the main difference that I was supposed to get here or find here and I didn’t really find it,” be stated.
“That comes from inside and when you are strong inside it could snow all year round and I wouldn’t care.
“I need to be here and to be strong to accept this massive challenge. I know what brings me here and I know that what happened last weekend can happen.
“But I came to work to prevent this happening in the future. That was the reason why we came early, knowing that these things could happen. I know it’s a massive job and I’m not going to turn around.
“You only get to know things deeply when you have worked on the pitch, when you are here and seated in the job.
“ I am a guy of challenges. I am on the way to the task so I have no problem with it.”
Of course with Pedro looking at off-loading up to ten players from the squad he inherited from Mark Warburton, the current Scottish Manager of the Year, he knows that he will have to spend but spend well. Rumours that the Ibrox board are set to give him a £3.5million war-chest, plus the revenue from any sales, means that he is already working with a smaller budget that Rodgers has at Celtic this summer.
Caixinha is maybe a little more optimistic about the funds he will have at his disposal, although selling Barry Mackay may add significantly to his war-chest.
“You say we can’t spend £6m? Let’s wait and see.
“It is not a question of money. We know the core of the team that we want to be here next season. It is on our mind. The board knows, the board agrees and we’re working on it.
“You have to move players in, you need to move players out. That is the way that things work in football, sometimes that happens because they may have long-term contracts.
“I am already working on it, since the first time we came in.
“I am honest, I am clear and I front up.
“Do you think that you are going to work with someone who doesn’t want to work with you? That things are going to be nice or going to be the right way? I don’t think so.
“It is a question of principles and of values.
“Nobody said that you need to pay the players to go.
“Nobody said also that you need to pay players to come in.
“We need to spend money now for sure but I cannot tell you how much we are going to spend with the players that are moving or with the players that are coming in.
“My mind is set regarding to the changes. The recent games didn’t change that much and we still have four more matches to play.
“I am a realist. This was the first season that the club returned to the Premiership, right?
“Let’s suppose that this was the fourth or the fifth season. Do you think that things will be like they are now?
“This is a different situation because it’s the only club in the world that gets from the Third Division to the Europa League in five years.
“It’s the only one in the world, under these specific conditions.”
Pedro, weeks in the job, has identified a new world record. He certainly knows how to make himself popular but ultimately it is going to come down to the revolving door he is about to install at Ibrox and if he can get better players to come in and the failures to leave as cheaply as possible.
That would be very impressive indeed.