YOU might call him the Portuguese patriarch. Or perhaps a genial Glasgow godfather. Because as far as Pedro Caixinha is concerned, football is a family affair.

Whether it is making sure they get their homework done (on other teams) or occasionally having to put one or two on the naughty step, the Rangers manager said last night that as he spends more time with the Ibrox family than his own flesh and blood and is determined to see them as a surrogate domestic unit.

“Above the football player, you have a man,” said Caixinha. “A social being, a human being, and he needs to be treated like that. If I don’t get this sort of relationship then maybe the relationship is going to just be a professional relationship and I don’t want that to happen. I want them to be close to me, the way I am close to them.

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“For example, when I am having an interview process with them, and I know that some of their sons or daughters are sick, I follow it up,” he added. “The day after, I say to them ‘your son is better?’ Or maybe if they have some sort of investment, a new house or they are building a new house, I follow the process.

“They really are my sons, I spend more time with them than my real blood sons. I spend much more time here as a family than I do with my actual family. So that is the way we have to behave.”

You might think such managerial outreach work is more important to exotic imports like Carlos Pena, Eduardo Herrera and Alfredo Morelos, but like all good parents Caixinha knows each one of his players has their own needs and wants, and all are watching like a hawk for signs of favouritism. Even veteran Scottish players like Kenny Miller need an arm round the shoulder at times.

“It is important for everyone – I need to treat them with equity,” said Caixinha. “Each one wants different things but the treatment they expect from me has to be the same. It makes no difference if it is a younger one, the oldest one, the one who plays more, the one who plays left, the one who scores more goals, the one who doesn’t score more goals.

“I need to be equal to all – what does a player need to keep on a good moment? Is it for me to spend more time one-on-one with him, talking about everything except football? Maybe it is something about the specific physicality of the position he is playing on the pitch. Maybe he needs to understand something in different moments of the game so I show a small video and say ‘look, just five metres here or there, this decision, that decision’. That is my work on a daily basis, to understand how they are and what they need at this moment in time.”

The coming eight days could have huge ramifications for both Rangers and their Portuguese manager. After Partick Thistle tomorrow comes the same opponents in the BetFred Cup on Tuesday, ahead of Saturday lunchtime’s Old Firm match.

While it is a period where Caixinha requires everybody firing on all cylinders, he nonetheless said that midfielder Carlos Pena, goal against Dundee or not, was not quite ready to start games yet.

“It is always important to score,” said Pena, of the £2.5 million signing from Guadalajara who has only made three substitute appearances to date. “Carlos is in a process of adaptation so he is one that is coming. He is still not there, I know what I am telling you, he is still not there.

“What we are trying to work with him with is for him to understand when the game is tight and he has to do things quick, he is not ready. That is the last stage of his adaptation. But Carlos can play in many different positions. I know the player we are talking about and he still has a lot to give. “