Michael O’Halloran would have had to be an idiot to sit and take the criticism Pedro Caixinha levelled at him the other week. The boy has pride, and he’s proved himself a good footballer since departing Ibrox on loan. Yesterday he opened fire.
Well it was worth the wait.
It painted an interested picture of life inside Ibrox, of what things are like under the heavy hand of the Portuguese boss.
And what is life like under Pedro? Well the answer might surprise you, and then again it might not. Easy, and confusing. So says O’Halloran anyway. Easy, in that training is “not very demanding.” Confusing in that it might be more demanding than it seems but the players just might not understand that because Pedro himself is not easy to understand. His training regimens don’t seem to make much sense.
I mean, there’s a headline on the Sevco website right now that says “I want Gers in dark blue.” I read that wondering if this perhaps was another crazy Caixinha idea, like banning green boots or putting a slogan on the wall of the dressing room to commemorate the large number of Catholic players and members of his backroom team. I thought maybe this was some kind of demand about their underwear colour or some other such nonsense.
Turns out, it was a reference to wanting to see his players filling up the Scotland team.
Which explains why he signed a bunch of Latins this summer.
But here’s the thing; because it’s Pedro I had to read it to find that out.
Because with this guy you just never know. Any day could bring you a straight news story. But any day could also bring you another barmy rant full of caravans and barking dogs and mini-leagues and lunatic observations about having the best team in the country.
There are reports from inside Ibrox that are barely believable, but all apparently are one hundred percent true. Like the UK players nicknaming him “The Fraud.” Of a dressing room clique with its own communications system. Of a senior player who frequently bollocks the manager from the pitch. Of a team that bizarrely made its own decision to change the tactics during a match … and the manager never noticed that they’d done it. Of a brand new signing who doesn’t show up for training, is hardly fit enough to play a full match but is already well acquainted with many of the hostelries and eateries of Glasgow and the surrounding area.
I’m told that’s a story begging to be written by our press.
I wonder why they haven’t yet.
According to O’Halloran, the manager never communicated with him, not even to tell him he was not in the club’s plans anymore. The player had to read that in the papers. During his time at Ibrox he said he felt the training sessions were so lax that he had to go and do extra training by himself, just to stay in shape. Is that the mark of a strict disciplinarian?
Caixinha has increased the time players have to spend in training; we all know that.
But does that necessarily mean he’s working them hard once they are there?
O’Halloran says no.
And that stuff, of course, is pretty important because as the media is fond of telling us, Sevco has gotten rid of as many players as they have signed, which means the squad is no more cut out for a long and arduous campaign than the previous one was.
If their players are even less fit than Warburton’s team … well that doesn’t end well.
A lot of their fans are already worrying about that.
They are not wrong to be.
In addition to what O’Halloran said, Tommy Wright jumped in and unloaded on Caixinha himself, saying how ridiculous the Sevco transfer strategy is. You can’t help but think that this guy knows Pedro is on the ragged edge and is making a play for his job.
Maybe I’m reading too much into it, but Pedro really is picking up enemies and critics as he goes along. His attitude is appalling. His man management skills are virtually non-existent. O’Halloran is the first player to break cover, because Caixinha basically threw him in front of the wolves.
But he will not be the last.
This guy attracts trouble like no manager we’ve had here before.
And it’s coming. Lots of it.