Pedro Caixinha will tell his new Rangers squad they are the best team in Scotland.
The Portuguese coach – who becomes just the 16th man ever to occupy the manager’s office at Ibrox – has inherited a team sitting third in the Ladbrokes Premiership, a massive 33 points behind bitter rivals Celtic.
But he believes Gers should be aiming to overtake Aberdeen to finish as runners up while also targeting the William Hill Scottish Cup.
That, though, remains a tall task for a side who have managed just 13 wins from 28 league games to date.
Caixinha watched from the Parkhead stands as his new side battled back for a morale-boosting 1-1 draw against Brendan Rodgers’ rampant Hoops on Sunday.
Yet the 46-year-old is well aware confidence is a fragile commodity in Govan and admits he may have to massage some egos.
Speaking as he met the Scottish media for the first time at his official Ibrox unveiling, he said: “This is the squad we have for now and we really trust the players we have right now. For us, this is the best squad in Scotland.
“We just need to give them confidence.
“When I work with one team, the players who complete that squad are always the best ones.
“I do believe the players can have a better version than they are having at the moment.
“We need to work on it. We need to get to know each other. But I do believe these players can do good things until the end of the season.
“If you ask me what the targets are for the end of this season, we can say okay, we are eight points below second place but we need to play that opponent twice, so that means we are just two points below according to the way we see things.
“We are chasing but we like to be in this position.
“The other one is the Scottish Cup. We are just two games from the trophy and I think we go for it, for sure.”
Caixinha will be under pressure to drastically improve the club’s recruitment after Mark Warburton’s unsuccessful spree last summer, although the impending appointment of a director of football should help him on that front.
The fact he has yet to meet – or even speak to – chairman Dave King will raise eyebrows but he has been assured there is money to spend come the end of the current campaign.
“I’m a guy of relationships,” he replied after being asked if he had held discussions with King. “We haven’t spoken yet but I will be glad to speak soon.
“I’m coming here because I believe in [the board]. They brought me here because they believe in me. So when a massive club like this has a strong philosophy, I want to unite all of this and then become stronger.
“If the philosophy from the management side is the same from the coach then everything gets easier.
“We just need to bring along players and add players with the same philosophy.
“If you add to this the support we have from our fans we have everything that guides you in the right direction.
“How will we close the gap on Celtic? By a lot of work. But of course, football is not all about work.
“The main actor in this act are the footballers, so we are going to need some investment. We are discussing about those things.”
Caixinha confirmed he is looking to appoint a “local assistant” to his backroom staff, although that will not be Graeme Murty who returns to his posting with the club’s under-20s having guided the first team in the wake of Warburton’s departure.
But the former Al-Gharafa boss does not foresee any problems adapting to Scottish football.
Having enjoyed an unassuming career as a goalkeeper, Caixinha’s coaching career has taken him to jobs in countries including Greece, Mexico, Saudi Arabia and Qatar.
He said: “I’m already adapted to (working in Britain). I’m a world citizen. When I arrived in Mexico, I’d never been there.
“I knew nothing about Santos Laguna. I didn’t even know anything about the Santos Laguna players, never mind the Mexican competition.
“But what I propose from now is to know the club in its deepest condition, from top to bottom. To know deeply the players because they are the main actors of this game, and to know the competition.
“So I’m here to work. I need to know all the opponents but I can’t do that all at one time. For now I will focus on our team while respecting the next opponent, which is going to be Hamilton.
“I’ve already watched some of their matches. We’re preparing everything and we’ll keep going like this.”