Michael O’Halloran yesterday got his own back on Rangers manager Pedro Caixinha who needlessly trashed the player after he was sent out on loan to St Johnstone until January.
Like many of the players Caixinha has discarded from Ibrox during his summer clear out of Mark Warburton’s squad, O’Halloran, who the now Nottingham Forest manager brought to Ibrox in a £500,000 move from St Johnstone, has hit the ground running after leaving Rangers.
As we reported yesterday O’Halloran was named the Ladbrokes Premiership Player of the Month prize for August. He has scored four goals for the Saints, starred in their creditable draw at Celtic Park and has helped secure 10 points from 12 for St Johnstone which sees them 3 points clear of his parent club.
Any player out on loan should expect a little support and encouragement from his own club. After all it is in everyone’s interest that the player does well. It might make him more prepared to start when back at his own club or it may well enhance any future transfer fee of the club decides to sell.
If you are a cash-strapped club and you spend half a million on the player in question then it would seem more sensible to try to get the money back rather than trash the boy.
Yet that is exactly what the Rangers manager did.
“He’s not my type of player. He’s not the type of player Rangers need. He does not have [what you need]to play for Rangers” said the current Rangers manager at a time when O’Halloran was banging in the goals for Saints and Rangers were drawing a blank against Hearts and losing to Hibs at Ibrox.
That’s one goal scored in the first two home league matches.
O’Halloran is expected back at Ibrox in January and he has a decent contract until 2020. He will be on wages that St Johnstone can’t and won’t pay so to get rid of the player could be costly for Rangers.
‘Me and my big mouth,’ Caixinha might reflect.
“Obviously I heard about his comments,” O’Halloran said yesterday.
“I got it from the newspaper. I’ve not heard anything from him or Rangers for that matter. It was news to me, as well as everyone else.
“I didn’t take much interest in it. I know my position there now. It’s clear. I’m just concentrating on being at St Johnstone. That’s not my concern now. Obviously I go back there in January and I’ll cross that bridge when I come to it. I’m still contracted to Rangers at the minute so I can’t say anything on that. It’ll be interesting come January.
“A few people texted me. As I say, I try not to look too much into that. I am happy right now where I am. I’m thriving playing for a manager who appreciates me and for a team who appreciates me.
“Could I still have a future at Rangers? I would never say never. I don’t know the situation. Things can change in football very quickly. I wouldn’t rule it out.”
His manager at St Johnstone, who understood the economics of the situation when selling his star player to Rangers in the first place, was also recognised yesterday beating McInnes and Rodgers to the manager of the month for August.
Caixinha would have been a long way down the list of potential winners after his stuttering start to the season. Wright took the change to have his say on the comments from the Portuguese about O’Halloran.
“You would have to ask Pedro Caixinha why he said what he did about Michael,” said Tommy Wright.
“It’s beyond me. Michael is an asset for Rangers and he basically ruled him out going back. I find that difficult.
“I don’t really want to get into a ‘he said, they said’ but football is football and the pitch is the same, the rules are the same.
“Sometimes people have their mind made up on certain players. Pedro wanted to bring in eight, nine, ten, 11 new players… I lost count.
“Michael was surplus to that but it’s easy when you’re at a big club not to have a look at what you’ve got and say ‘he’s not exactly what I want but I’ll work and get the best out of him’.
“It’s easy to dismiss him and bring in other players when you’ve got the money. Whatever has happened, I’m delighted I’ve got Michael and it was a no-brainer to bring him back.
“Everyone is entitled to their opinion and Pedro had a clear vision of what he wanted when he came in and quite a lot of Rangers players weren’t part of that vision.
“I would hope to be able to extend Michael’s loan but a lot of things can happen between now and then.”
So thanks to Caixinha it looks like Rangers’ loss is going to be St Johnstone’s gain.