Gordon Smith: McCann is the ideal man to join Caixinha at Rangers

Neil McCann (SNS)
Neil McCann (SNS)

PEOPLE will often tell you that footballers are the same all over the world.

There’s a perception that talented players and coaches should be able to seamlessly move from country to country without a problem.

I suspect that Pedro Caixhana already knows that’s not the case.

The new Rangers manager has kept a space in his coaching staff for a Scot – and it’s vital he makes that appointment very quickly.

Caixhana is clearly a very intelligent, highly-educated man and a good communicator.

He has made a good impression during his first few public utterances in Scotland.

The man from Portugal is a very technical coach, and that is something the players will have to adapt to.

However, different nationalities have different mentalities and specific ways of behaving – things you can’t always detect when you come from outside.

I have personal experience of that.

I didn’t find my team-mates as open as the ones I’d grown up with when I went to play football abroad.

During my time in British football, the players were very direct with what they said, and they weren’t slow to tell you what they thought about how you had played.

There was also a lot of humour around the clubs.

That wasn’t the case when I went to Austria and Switzerland.

There wasn’t the same sort of unity in the clubs that I was used to.

Players didn’t really socialise. They came in, did their training and then went their separate ways.

It was a different environment and it took months for me to adjust to the different personalities.

It would have helped me immensely if I’d had another British player already in the squad at Admira Wacker in Austria.

He would have been able to give me an insight into the personalities and the way we were expected to behave.

As it was, I had to learn as I went along.

It wasn’t something I found hugely difficult. I adapted, but it took a little time.

Pedro Caixhana doesn’t have time on his side.

He has already put himself under pressure by saying he wants to win the Scottish Cup and get second place in the Premiership.

Those are two ambitious goals and bringing in some local help can only help him achieve that.

In Mexico, he went down the road of bringing in a coach who had knowledge of the game in that country.

That was a decision that helped him achieve success in a challenging environment.

Caixinha comes to Scotland with his own ideas, and he will change things after judging what he sees at Ibrox.

But he will want to know about the players and the opposition systems his side will be facing.

There are a few people out there who can help him with that.

You have Barry Ferguson, a former captain, available at the moment.

Lee McCulloch deserves the manager’s job at Kilmarnock but has not yet been confirmed in the position, so he too remains a possibility.

But the man I think would be best is Neil McCann.

He has a role as an analyst on satellite television, but I don’t think he’d necessarily have to give that up if he took a job at Ibrox.

Stephen Craigan works for another broadcaster and is also manager of Motherwell’s Under-20s.

McCann would be a very good coach and adviser to the new Ibrox management team.

Having played for Rangers, he knows what’s required from players in terms of ability and mentality.

Hiring someone who knows the Scottish game inside out would be a great first signing by Caixhana.

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