As any Middlesbrough match-goer will tell you, there’s an upside and a downside to Aitor Karanka’s methods.
On one hand, his ultra-pragmatic, results-driven approach appears to deliver success. It was he who led Boro to promotion back to the Premier League after seven seasons in the Championship after all, finishing second behind Burnley in 2016/17.
But Karanka’s safety first style appears to have a rather short shelf life. It was his refusal to experiment with tactics or even consider a slightly more adventurous approach that saw Middlesbrough return immediately to the second tier last season, suffering relegation with barely a whimper while making very few friends along the way.
So Rangers fans would be right to feel a little conflicted with Sky Bet installing the currently out-of-work Spaniard as the 7/1 third-favourite to take over at Ibrox – behind Derek McInnes and former West Ham boss Slaven Bilic.
While chairman Dave King admitted at the club’s Annual General Meeting, as reported by the Daily Record, that he wanted a British manager, Karanka has spent the last four years working in England so should hardly be viewed with suspicion – at least with regards to his nationality.
His style of football, however, is more of a reason for concern. First and foremost, Rangers need results and better ones at that if they are to close the gap on Aberdeen, never mind Celtic.
And improving a sloppy defence wouldn’t go amiss either. It shouldn’t be forgotten that ten Premier League sides conceded more goals than Boro last season despite finishing second from bottom.
But they scored a league-low 27 goals at the right end that season. So the question Rangers’ board must answer is whether they are prepared to sacrifice excitement for results.