11 Apr Caixinha taking Rangers to the top
Dave King is confident Rangers can rediscover their winning mentality under new boss Pedro Caixinha.
The Light Blues have had a season to forget after dropping down to third place in the Ladbrokes Premiership, a massive 35 points behind newly-crowned champions Celtic.
Now in another thinly-veiled swipe at former manager Mark Warburton, Ibrox chairman King says the days where performances are valued more than points are over.
And he again insisted the club – which is still being propped up with loans from the South Africa-based businessman and his boardroom allies – would ensure their new Portuguese coach had funds to reshape his squad this summer.
King previously accused Warburton of being “thin-skinned” after criticising results under the Englishman during his final months in charge.
But he claims plans are now in place to ensure Gers will be more competitive next term.
Speaking as he launched the club’s season-ticket renewal drive, King told the club’s website: “Despite a relatively disappointing campaign up to this point, we have taken the necessary steps to revitalise the team and its performance.
“Of particular note is the carefully researched appointment of a new management unit headed by Pedro Caixinha.
“Funds are available to help Pedro shape his own team. It is important that our supporters continue to see Rangers playing attractive football, but attractive football must not be pursued at the cost of failing to win.
“We must reinstate the winning mentality expected of the most successful club in the world in terms of domestic league titles. This winning mentality is only one of the significant qualities that I believe we have reintroduced with the new manager and his support staff.
“We could have avoided the significant financial compensation we incurred to bring the new management team on board by delaying the appointment until the end of the season.
“However, we believe that it is in the club’s interest to give Pedro the balance of this season to assess the squad and make preparations in advance of the new season and the early competitive start that we envisage with Europa League qualifiers. It will be a further significant step forward to achieve our stated target of having European football back at Ibrox.”
Caixinha has had a mixed start to life in Scotland. After romping past Hamilton on his dugout debut, Gers were held to frustrating draws by Motherwell and Kilmarnock.
But Sunday’s 3-0 win over Aberdeen has kept the Light Blues in the race for second as they look to catch Aberdeen, now nine points ahead.
However, the expectation levels which greeted their return to the top-flight last summer – partly inflated by the club’s William Hill Scottish Cup semi-final triumph over Celtic – are unlikely to be matched this time round, with the Hoops having established themselves as Scotland’s sole super power under Brendan Rodgers.
Gers shifted 43,000 season-tickets on the back of their promotion push and say they may have to introduce a waiting list this summer.
But King has also sought to appease supporters worried about what next season has in store by promising progress will be made.
“Much of the work undertaken off the pitch is unseen and the maintenance of Ibrox and Auchenhowie is a never ending and costly process,” explained King, who remains locked in a bitter dispute with shareholder Mike Ashley.
“But it is a price we must continuously pay in order to boast two such fantastic facilities and advance the excellent youth development process that we have put in place.
“Much has been achieved in the past year and the club structures are significantly better than a year ago.
“Our academy structures and young players are more promising than at any time since my first association with the Club almost 20 years ago. Auchenhowie is finally looking ‘fit for purpose’ and is showing a vibrancy hitherto unseen.
“I repeat my previous commitment that I will not consider our work complete until Rangers has been restored to the very top of our game.
“No other club anywhere can match Rangers’ history and successes. No other supporters could have endured the traumas that befell Rangers in recent years and remained so proud and dignified.
“It is gratifying to finally be able to deal with the normal vagaries of football such as team performance and management restructures as business in the normal course rather than as a new crisis – which had been the case over the last few years. I look forward to the coming season with great optimism.”