As I write this, there’s an emergency board meeting being convened at Ibrox. By the time you read it, we’ll know if Caixinha is being given more time or not.
As such, I won’t discuss the various off-field stories kicking around right now. It could be all moot by the time this is published. We’ll keep the talking points to the game last night.
First off, I really believe Pedro is the unluckiest manager we’ve ever had. That’s not to say he’s doing well, but the breaks certainly don’t fall our way in his time here. Injuries at key times, absolute sitters missed by players in games, and not just one or two players either, daft decisions and mistakes by players or referees turning matches – there’s a load of stuff he has no control over that hasn’t went his way. I mentioned earlier in the season that he may have to go because of this if nothing else, and in some ways it’s got worse.
I don’t remember ever seeing a player have to wait 5 minutes to take a penalty, never mind all the other stuff that was going on at that time. It was a poor penalty, but almost expected to be so after all of that. There’s a case for saying that Candeias should have started everything again. He could have picked up the ball and placed it once the referee prompted him, so as to mentally restart and try to get rid of the growing anxiousness. That, and the concession of the goal, all just point to a team lacking belief.
And that makes Saturday very interesting. We’ll be missing a number of key players. However, Caixinha’s away record has been pretty good, so you have to wonder if pressure of playing at home is part of this. We’ve played much better football in the away games so far this season. Our Hampden experience was akin to a home match given the crowd. Pedro mentioned the gap between training and match performances. Last season, a player as experienced as Clint Hill spoke about the difficulty in adjusting. Are too many of our squad still getting used to the pressure?
Change of manager or not, you’d have to expect a poor performance away to Hearts at the weekend. If the team plays with a bit more confidence and freedom, you have to question just why there’s such a big disparity in performance.
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Ryan Jack has now had 3 red cards in competitive games this season. One was rescinded, and this one may be as well, but that’s a pretty poor record in such a short time. As much as we want to blame referees, he has to take some responsibility for his actions as well.
I like to try and take some positives from a game, regardless of results. I don’t agree with those who feel the team wasn’t putting in the effort. They worked hard, they just didn’t play well. It was good to see McCrorie handle the game so well, given his teammates are devoid of confidence. Holt looked good, and before his injury Dorrans looked confident as well. There’s a chance they enjoy playing together as their styles compliment each other somewhat. After that, though, there really isn’t much to say.
I suspect this will all be drowned out by bigger news soon. Either way, the Ibrox faithful have a job to do. The crowd was very poor during the game in terms of backing the team. If it’s to be Pedro or someone else, we need to try and remember that the negativity doesn’t help anyone, and a winning Rangers is all we want.
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