SCOTTISH SOCCER: Rangers boss Pedro Caixinha expects hot reception at Aberdeen

Pedro Caixinha

Pedro Caixinha

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Rangers head north to Aberdeen on Sunday afternoon to face the hostile and intimidating atmosphere of Pittodrie Stadium in what Pedro Caixinha has described as a game that must be won if the Ibrox men are to finish second in the Premiership.

This may be the first visit to the Granite City for the Ibrox Boss – but he has made clear that he knows exactly what to expect.

“Everybody says that we are going to hell and I like those hostile scenarios. We need to be clever of course, we need to have the right attitude and the right approach for that hostile environment.

“It’s a game that we must win if we want to finish second, definitely, and I think the players need to see this game and all the games until the end of the season like challenges.

“I came here for the challenge and I want the players to have that feeling as well, because representing Rangers is about being challenged all day long, day by day.”

Northern Ireland Internationalist Lee Hodson is expected to return after missing the last two games through illness – perhaps at left-back with Lee Wallace out, although eighteen-year-old Myles Beerman certainly let no-one down at Kilmarnock on Wednesday evening.

Caixinha is a coach who appears to do his homework thoroughly – and his attention to detail will surely have underlined to him that he will have to set out his stall to cope with the pace and width of the ‘Dons’ attacks.

The extent of the Ibrox injury list limits somewhat the options available to the Rangers Manager – but the odds are that Kenny Miller will line up in attack,

The first meeting of the current campaign – indeed the first for fully four years – was one shrouded in controversy both on and off the park with the Rangers team-bus vandalised pre-match and the host club’s response leaving a great deal to be desired. As to the match itself Rangers went down by the odd goal in three after dominating most of the ninety minutes only to fall to a last-minute sucker punch when James Maddison swooped with a last-minute free-kick, awarded for a non-existent foul by Referee John Beaton.

The Light Blues reversed the score-line at Ibrox in December courtesy of goals from Kenny Miller and Lee Hodson before a last-gasp Andrew Considine goal put a false slant on a game which ended ten-a-side with both Clint Hill and Ryan Jack taking early baths.

Aberdeen have proved under Derek McInnes to be a formidable force this season, particularly at Pittodrie where they have won their last ten games in both League and Scottish Cup. This statistic, together with the fact that Rangers have failed to win in their previous five away fixtures, should point in only one direction – to a home win.

Football however is – as someone once said – “a funny old game” and the travelling Light Blue support will travel north in anticipation of a result that will make the long journey seem more than worthwhile.

There are those amongst the ‘Gers support who remain unconvinced by the new Manager – victory on Sunday would go some way to convincing those doubters.