MANAGERS will be in the spotlight at Pittodrie this afternoon, where Aberdeen take on Rangers.
The latter will be led Pedro Caixinha. But adding spice is the fact Derek McInnes could have been in the visitors’ dugout rather than the hosts’.
Walter Smith went public with his belief the current Dons boss was the man Rangers should appoint to replace Mark Warburton at a time when the post was still open.
And I believe he MUST have been a candidate.
But while they will definitely have been interested, there are other factors to consider.
Could they get him away from Aberdeen? How much compensation would they have had to pay? Was Derek prepared to leave the Dons?
As we all know now, Caixinha was the man they did appoint with the Portuguese arriving on a three-year deal.
And if he didn’t already know about the pressure which goes with the job, he certainly does now, with the club’s chance of finishing second to Celtic now effectively gone.
Twelve points plus a big swing in goal difference is too much to haul back at this late stage of the season.
The two matches remaining against Aberdeen are very important, though. They will show Pedro the strength of his team.
The Dons are one of the best attacking sides in the SPFL. When Jonny Hayes, Niall McGinn and Adam Rooney are all firing, they will cause problems for any defence.
And, as their run of 10 home wins-in-a-row going into this one would indicate, the rest of the side is exceptionally solid.
Everyone knows their position, their responsibility and they play like a proper team, with strength running right through the spine of the side.
You can’t say the same about Rangers just now.
To be fair, Caixinha has had serious injury problems in defence with Lee Hodson, Lee Wallace and Clint Hill – three of his back four – all having to come off at half-time last Saturday.
Every cloud has a silver lining, though. I thought the two young lads they brought in for the Kilmarnock match, Myles Beerman and David Bates did very well.
I was more impressed still by Danny Wilson’s performance. I thought he was absolutely outstanding and their main defender on the night.
He is a guy who has come in for a lot of criticism over the years. Principally, I believe, because he never really achieved what was expected of him.
Who knows, perhaps now is his time. It is, I’d argue, a wee bit of a sign he was chosen as the leader at the back for Killie.
Elsewhere, I think Caixinha is not entirely sure who his main players are.
Brendan Rodgers inherited some great players when he took charge at Celtic. But Pedro hasn’t been so lucky.
You look at the likes of Andy Halliday and Jason Holt. They are decent, hard-working midfielders but Rangers still need somebody else. Someone who can control, talk and organise.
I think that is maybe why Mark Warburton brought in Joey Barton to give him that type. But it didn’t work.
Barry McKay gets criticised for his end product, but for me is still the most-creative player they have. Caixinha must have seen that because he has kept him in the team.
Likewise, I think the fact we are into April and Kenny Miller has not been approached about a new contract – an area the manager is taking charge of – suggests his days are numbered, most likely to free up wages to help bring in new players of Pedro’s choosing.
We shall see.
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