I thought, initially, this was another verse in the No One Likes Us And By God We Like To Moan About It tune which we’ve heard out of Ibrox time and again, and so was minded to ignore it.
But I realised that actually it was worth paying a wee tiny bit of attention to, because it actually may contain a kernel of truth. Perhaps teams do play more of an aggressive game against his team and if that’s so I can take a stab at guessing why.
It’s because he talks like a boot-boy from the stands.
Since Caixinha took over the team he’s talked about football as a constant battle.
He has lambasted his players who he sees as mentally and physically weak.
He’s talked about fighting, scrapping, football as war.
He comes across like a ned himself, someone who would get in your face to try to intimidate you … he’s actually about as intimidating as Bungle from Rainbow. But opposition managers hear all this and set their teams up accordingly.
When you have a manager talking in language like that, of course opposing teams will respond by trying to show they too can play a physical game. And let’s not pretend that Caixinha’s side are angels by any manner of means; they, too, are quite capable of mixing it up.
He can talk about teams rough-housing his own when he has a player like Kieran Tierney, who I’ve seen already this season be targeted by at least two vicious assaults, and last season saw the Jayden Stockley elbow for which that unrepentant thug was rightly condemned (not that he gave a damn) prior to his sloping off back south to anonymity.
If he thinks teams don’t try against us he’s off his nut. Not only are we the champions, but we’re on that stunning unbeaten run – haha forget going for 55, we got there already – and so it’s not just a case of teams wanting to beat the best … everyone wants to be the side that stops us. So we get severe pressing, tight marking, our best players get booted all over the place.
And we take it. Because we expect it.
Pedro can look on the bright side here; teams are doing it because of a combination of things, and one of those thing is that they still see it as the most effective way for a “small team” to contain a “big team.” When they realise Sevco isn’t one of those I think it’ll stop and they’ll switch to more conventional footballing tactics.
Of course, he’ll be gone by then and the next manager will probably already be in trouble.
But at least he won’t have to complain about it any longer.