“We’ve got a responsibility to his parent club. We have got to look after their asset.”

The moment these words came out of Mark Warburton’s mouth in the aftermath of a 4-1 defeat to Hearts last February it was clear that this was a guy in the wrong movie.  Emerson Hyndman was the player in question and had been substituted after 60 minutes despite being Rangers’ best player on the park. If you are Glasgow Rangers’ manager then the number 1 priority is winning football matches for Rangers and sending the supporters home happy, not keeping the manager of Bournemouth, or anyone else outwith Ibrox happy either for that matter.

Make no mistake about it, Glasgow Rangers are a bigger club and institution than Bournemouth ever will be, with all due respect to the Cherries, they could only dream of having had some of the prestigious talents that have served Rangers over the last 25 years and beyond.

The fact Warburton felt it was more important to save face and his reputation with Bournemouth as opposed to trying to get the best for Rangers pretty much summed up his tenure as manager of the club. With his mindset, we were always destined to be 2nd best or worse.  NOT ACCEPTABLE FOR RANGERS.

The majority of the Rangers support of 2017 will remember the 9 in a row era of the 90s, and the genuine belief at that time that the 2 biggest football clubs in Britain were Manchester United and Glasgow Rangers.

Despite the massive gulf in TV revenue that has developed since those days the Rangers support still have the same demands and expectations. It does not matter how many millions are in the bank for these EPL sides or for that matter, across the city.  The mindset of a Rangers supporter will always be when you represent our club there is no one or no thing more important than being a winner at Rangers.

It is this belief and winning mentality within the support which I feel resonates with Pedro Caixinha, a man who has come in for some massive undeserved criticism.

And here’s why…

When Caixinha stepped into the manager’s seat at Ibrox he inherited a mess, a first-team squad full of bottlers and journeymen plucked from obscurity in the lower leagues of England which suited Mark Warburton’s style of management and temperament. It would have been easier for Caixinha to try and work with these guys and “coach” them into being winners. The only problem is, you cannot coach a player to be a winner, you’re either born with that desire in you or you are not. On rare occasions a player will develop that inner drive to succeed to become a winner despite setbacks and criticism aimed at them, 2 recent examples for Rangers being Fernando Ricksen and Sasa Papac.

An overhaul of approximately 10 first team players in and out over the summer was the first sign that the Portuguese was trying to restore some of the faith within the aforementioned expectant Ibrox support. Under Warburton, it was always a question amongst the support why Rob Kiernan was untouchable in terms of never being left out of the side, almost everyone could identify that he was a liability for the team not only in big games but in almost every game. He brought a nervousness to the team and the support at times when the team needed a strong leader. It was no surprise that one of Caixinha’s first act’s as manager was to completely remove Kiernan from the first team.

In identifying this it immediately started a trend throughout the first team and the exits began to make sense.

If you were a Rangers player in that team, who would you want alongside you in the heat of battle or when the chips were down? Which players could you rely on not to let you down?  It could be argued everyone who was let go or told they were surplus to requirements were not guys you could rely on to meet the expectation levels set at Ibrox, maybe Joey Garner could be excused from the list but not many others if any.

Caixinha strikes me as being a very intelligent man, not the clueless tactician the Scottish press seem determined to forever portray him as.

Yes, he may have delivered some phrases which are not relevant to Glaswegian patter but the irony of the so-called professional journalists and football experts lining up to character assassinate this man who is fluent in multi-languages is as much funny as it is sheer ignorance on their behalf.

And despite the continued myth that Rangers have performed poorly under Caixinha and his signings have not adapted to their new surroundings, Rangers find themselves only 6 points behind Celtic and Aberdeen going into the 10th round of games, gone are the dropped points under Warburton to the Hamiltons and the Ross Counties of the league, albeit 2 dropped points at Firhill was a low point in which has been a more than decent start to the campaign. The defeat to Hibs and subsequent draw with Hearts were difficult results to take, by all accounts we battered Hearts without breaking the deadlock and against Hibs the game management within the team was lacking the cuteness and togetherness which HAS now been shown on recent trips to Hamilton and St Johnstone. The Old Firm game for 45 minutes at least was evenly balanced no matter what anyone says otherwise. With 6 Rangers players making their Old Firm debut the experience of being in the game and then being beaten comfortably, in the end, will only benefit those players for the next encounter.

Rangers under Caixinha this season have scored 20 goals in 9 games, compared to 56 goals in 38 games last season.  It doesn’t take a genius to work out that already the team is more of a threat going forward than it was under plan “A” Warburton. The goals are being spread out throughout the side, which again suggests there IS progress being made as a team under Caixinha.

Let’s get one thing clear. Bruno Alves signed for Rangers because of Pedro Caixinha. Regardless of age, this guy is a class act with a winners’ pedigree at the highest level throughout his career.

Alves continues to show his class and leadership with each passing week in a Rangers jersey, which takes me back to the initial point,

“This European Championship winner is our asset and we have a responsibility to look after and appreciate our asset.”

The more Bruno Alves’s we can bring back to the club the easier it will be to encourage a similar calibre of player and winner to wear the Rangers jersey and return the success that the support are crying out for… At least Pedro Caixinha has got the ball rolling for 55.