THEY say that if you fail to prepare, you are preparing to fail.
Rangers’ supporters must be desperately hoping that’s a saying that doesn’t define their season.
Crashing out of the Europa League against the fourth-best team in Luxembourg has done nothing but raise questions about the manager’s ability to take the club forward.
I’m doing my best to give Pedro Caixinha a chance, but he doesn’t inspire me with any real confidence.
There were doubts about him last season when we thought he would get a reaction from his players when they played Celtic at Ibrox just a week after losing to them in the Scottish Cup semi-final.
There was no reaction. Rangers were diabolical as they were thumped 5-1.
The Portuguese boss seemed to be in denial. He claimed his team played well and displayed more passion than they had just six day earlier.
To be fair, he wouldn’t be the first manager to defend his players when most impartial observers see things differently.
It’s difficult, and arguably unwise, to slag off the squad when you’re new to a club.
I thought it was only right to judge him when he’d taken charge of Rangers for a proper pre-season and made some adjustments to the playing staff.
He’s certainly shaken things up when it comes to players, but the over-riding impression I’ve been left with is: “Does this guy know what he’s doing?”
The defeat to Progrès Niederkorn in Luxembourg was the worst in the club’s history and has left them in a real predicament when it comes to preparing for the league season.
They don’t enter the League Cup until after the group stage, so that saw them facing a month without any matches.
Of course, they fully expected to take care of Niederkorn and that would have led to at least another two games in Europe.
Potential opponents wouldn’t put plans in place to play Rangers on the off-chance they crashed out of Europe.
Now the club have moved to implement a hastily-arranged Plan B. They’re hosting Marseille on Saturday and travel to Sheffield Wednesday a week before their opening Premiership fixture at Motherwell.
Yes, these matches are better than closed-doors games at the training ground – but could backfire if Caixinha’s team suffer more demoralising defeats.
Marseille have quality players like Patrice Evra and Dimitri Payet, and finished fifth in the high-quality French league last season.
Match fitness is important, but it might have been as beneficial to the squad for Rangers to get away for a week.
They have made nine signings and integrating that number of new players isn’t easy. When I played for Ipswich Town, we always went abroad to a training camp in Holland.
We’d then take part in a four-team tournament and you came back feeling that something had been achieved on the pitch.
But there was also a lot of hard training, and being together in the evenings helped the new lads get to know everyone.
For Caixinha’s crop of foreign signings, going to training and then back to a hotel in a new city isn’t the best way to settle in at a club.
There are so many great training facilities all over Europe the club could have used.
Rather than challenging Celtic for the title, it looks like Rangers will again be battling with Aberdeen for second spot.
Pedro Caixinha needs a great start to the season if he is to keep his job.
You have to wonder if this rather chaotic pre-season will help his cause.