Last night, as the ninety minutes at Firhill ended, Pedro Caixinha was a dead man walking. This afternoon he remains such, because the Sevco fans are no longer convinced by late rallies and scraping through matches. The extra time goals which took them to the semi-final capped an unconvincing – some would say appalling – performance and it’s that, and not the fact they are through, which Sevco’s fans are focussed on.
Pedro Caixinha reminds me of Mark Warburton right now, who some had taken to comparing with Ronny Deila. In one sense they were correct – he was, as Caixinha is, only ever one game away from calls for his head. In other ways they aren’t alike at all.
Ronny was a title winning manager here by the time the volume was turned up by his critics, and I should know as I was one of them. Ronny’s problem wasn’t that he was a bad manager, it was that Celtic cries out for a great manager, and our club needed one to break us out of the stagnation which seemed to haunt us.
But Ronny was by no means a disaster.
His management secured us titles and trophies and helped put down the foundations on which Brendan built.
Nothing whatsoever is left of Mark Warburton’s Sevco team and if he laid foundations of any kind Pedro Caixinha has been busily digging them up. This is without a doubt his team now; it’s his gig to blow, and he’s going at that task determinedly.
Where there is one comparison which stands up between Pedro and Ronny it’s here; faith in this guy has gone completely.
Fans now expect to be mourning disaster rather than celebrating triumph. There’s a kind of resigned acceptance that the end is coming sooner or later and in that way common to many football fans a lot of them are ready to embrace the “sooner” part.
A lot of Sevco fans openly admitted last night that a defeat would have been tolerable had it ended the Caixinha experiment; they got criticised for it, but that they felt able to make such an admission in public at all is very telling of where this guy finds himself.
He will point to their reaching a cup semi final as proof of “progress.”
Warburton reached two in his final season and he got to the Scottish Cup final in his first, but the Sevco fans were incandescent at his failure to go further and accomplish more. It’s their unrealistic level of expectation that remains his great danger.
They’ve made up their minds about this guy. They are now waiting for the end, some even openly longing for it. After we dispatch Dundee tonight we’re at Ibrox next, when Brendan’s bhoys will be only too happy to oblige them.