PEDRO Caixinha’s departure from Rangers is a surprise to no-one who has been watching the Scottish game over the last 7 months.
Earlier this week the former Rangers striker Kris Boyd accused his old team of lacking fight in their shock league cup semi-final defeat against Motherwell.
Boyd, now at Kilmarnock, said he had never seen a Gers team bullied like that, even during their darkest days in the lower leagues.
Pedro Caixinha’s men were expected to record a comfortable victory to set up a final meeting with cup holders Celtic, but instead they lost 2-0 to a team breathing down their necks in the Premiership.
Once again it is left to Aberdeen to try to keep pace with Celtic at the top of the table, although the 3-0 home defeat to the Champions at Pittodrie has Derek McInnes acknowledging that his realistic objective is to secure second place behind Celtic.
This leaves Rangers left to scrapping it out with the likes of Motherwell, Hibs and Hearts in the tier below.
It all contributed to a rather ignominious time for Caixinha, who was never able to win three consecutive games as Rangers manager and who went absolutely ballistic at his players following their capitulation last the weekend. That anger was not enough to save his job though and after Kilmarnock’s nicked a point at Ibrox on Wednesday evening his days as Rangers boss were numbered.
Rangers’ prolonged struggles are not exactly doing wonders for their claim to be the most successful club in the country. The evidence says otherwise.
Celtic have had it all their own way for a long time now and the arrival of Rangers into the top flight was supposed to, according to the media, eventually lead to a more intriguing battle for honours. On recent evidence, that day looks a long, long way off. One commentator this week actually said that Rangers will NEVER win the league.
“I’ve never seen a Rangers team bullied the way they were,” said Boyd.
“There’s one thing about a Rangers team, they would always stand up to the fight. That’s just not Rangers.”
The increasingly agitated Caixinha added that he was embarrassed at his players in another ill-tempered rant. He had now lost seven times in 25 games since taking over from Mark Warburton in March. Enough was enough.
Over at a well-reviewed bookmaker like YouWager, Rangers are often going into league games as underdogs. Now Celtic are just 1/8 to win the League Cup and Motherwell are out at 8/1. Rangers are a massive 45/1 to win the title, while Celtic are 1/41, despite the season being just ten games old. There is still a huge gulf in class between the Bhoys and the rest of the league and Rangers – despite being the club best placed to close it – are today manageress and a a complete mess.
Caixinha was never going to work miracles overnight, but he would have at least been expected to install a bit of battling spirit into his charges. Instead they rolled over against Motherwell and passed up on a fantastic chance of reaching a major final for the first time.
Celtic would obviously have been favourites to win the league cup final, but in 90 minutes anything can happen so they would have had an outside chance. Instead they have to recruit a new boss, regroup as a squad and seek to improve their league position – they are currently fourth and will slip down further if they lose to Hearts at the weekend , and redouble their efforts for the Scottish Cup. That is their last remaining chance of winning silverware this season.
Caixinha challenged his players to improve and believed that he was the man to lead the club to glory, but it was not to be for the Portuguese man of war.
Pundits and supporters alike increasingly accused him of being out of his depth and he was sacked yesterday. The race is on to find a successor, striker Kenny Miller is the 3/1 favourite to replace him, followed by Billy Davies and Graeme Murty at 5/1. Next up is former boss Alex McLeish – who has been out of work for a while and passed over for some jobs – at 10/1, along with former Spurs manager Martin Jol, and then Alex Neill and Alan Pardew at 12/1 and Malky Mackay at 14/1.