PEDRO CAIXINHA reckons Rangers can start laying down foundations for a successful season now his foreign recruits are finally feeling at home in Scotland.
The Ibrox club have recovered from a difficult start with back-to-back wins over Ross County and Dundee.
And Caixinha believes that turnaround has been prompted because summer signings such as Colombian hitman Alfredo Morelos, Mexican playmaker Carlos Pena and Portuguese wideman Daniel Candieas have found their feet.
He said: “All of them needed different times to get adapted. It’s a different reality, a different culture.
“Even for me as a European from Portugal it’s different coming to live in Scotland.
“Imagine what it’s like for someone from the other side of the world to get adapted to this culture, this type of football.
“For example, the guys from Mexico find it unusual to play all the time with the pitch wet. That gives you more pace in the game and they need to understand that.
“However, they’re now getting together in the direction we want.
“We’ve brought their families over, found them a place to live, found a college for their kids, but there’s still other adaptations, like food and nutrition. So there’s lots of things to think through and get together for them to feel comfortable and confident. Then they can express the football they have.”
Pena has taken longer than most to settle in.
A lot was expected of the £2.5million signing from Guadalajara but he has so far only been given three brief substitute run-outs.
He did open his account in Saturday’s 4-1 win over Neil McCann’s Dark Blues, however, and Caixinha is confident the Mexico international will make a bigger contribution soon.
He explained: “Against County and Dundee when there was more space because we were leading, Carlos felt free to perform.
“But now we’re preparing him to understand sometimes the time and space isn’t there.
“That’s the question we need to go a little bit further on, to the next level, for him to perform with us on a regular basis.
“He’s going to get the rhythm by playing in the match, not by training. The training is not going to improve him – the match makes the difference.”
After his side lost to Hibernian and then drew 0-0 draw with Hearts, Caixinha found himself under pressure as Rangers dropped five points behind the early pace-setters.
But victory over Partick Thistle on Friday could see Rangers top the Ladbrokes Premiership, for a few hours at least.
Caixinha, though, has urged his men to retain their hunger as they look to close the quality gap that still separates them from Celtic.
“The players aren’t satisfied when they win a game 4-1,” he said. “I wasn’t happy and that’s the mentality we need to spread.
“Yeah we won 4-1. Okay it was a good result, a good performance in some moments but we need to improve in others. That’s the reality we need to face and always be thinking we can grow as a team.”