By Matt Farr
Rangers manager Pedro Caixinha insists he is fully aware of the weight of expectation surrounding him at Ibrox.
The Portuguese, 46, took charge at the Scottish club in March, and has secured qualification for the Europa League ahead of next season.
However, he revealed to the Daily Record on Friday that he has often sought the advice of former Rangers manager Walter Smith in recent weeks, which has given him a stern reminder of the expectation from the fans.
Fans have been forced to look on this season as Rangers offered little in halting the dominance of Old Firm rivals Celtic in domestic competitions, who have beaten the Ibrox outfit in five of their six meetings this term.
But Caixinha has been entrusted with stopping the rot ahead of next season, where Rangers will be demanding a much-improved showing in the league, and on their return to Europe.
He has wasted little time in kicking-off a summer overhaul of his first-team squad, having told three senior players they are surplus to requirements at the club, and he insists he won’t run from his responsibilities.
He told the Record: “I’m not going to run away from my responsibilities. After the last Old Firm game at Ibrox I was asked if the fans were going to start judging me from the beginning of next season.
“However, I believe the man in this chair should be judged from the first day until the last. Nothing is going to change. I know the history from Walter Smith, whose company I have enjoyed.
“He won the treble and after match day one the next season people were asking more of him. Walter is fantastic to speak with. All the people connected with Rangers has given us a lot of support and help.”
Smith enjoyed two separate spells in the Rangers dugout, first between 1991 and 1998, and later returning as manager from 2007 through to 2011.
He led the club to a total of 21 trophies, including 10 Scottish Premiership titles, making him the second-most successful manager in the club’s illustrious history – behind Bill Struth.
But the alarming decline of the club in recent seasons, stemming from their financial woes and liquidation, presents Caixinha with a major rebuilding job on his hands to bring back the Rangers of old.
Rangers have three matches remaining in their domestic season, starting with a visit from fifth-placed Hearts on Saturday.