Kevin Muscat or Philippe Clement – who is better for Rangers?

Kevin Muscat or Philippe Clement – who is better for Rangers?
Monacos Belgian head coach Philippe Clement looks on during the French L1 football match between FC Lorient and AS Monaco at Stade du Moustoir in Lorient, western France on January 11, 2023. (Photo by Damien Meyer / AFP) (Photo by DAMIEN MEYER/AFP via Getty Images)

This is an unprecedented situation Rangers fans find ourselves in – where we effectively have the choice of two excellent managers in terms of our next boss, so Ibrox Noise is going to put what we hope is the definitive ‘scoop’ in what both managers are, bring, and who we’d actually want ultimately in the hotseat.

So, without further ado:

We begin with Kevin Muscat. Now the first obvious one in his favour is his experience of Rangers. He only played 22 games and in truth wasn’t great for those games, but he got to understand first hand the pressure of playing for Rangers and he knows directly, first hand, what it takes.

Second thing in his favour is his mentality from playing is pretty much his mentality in management – he takes no prisoners, is a tough hard man, and he will not suffer fools gladly. He’s not a ‘psycho’ but he is strong mentally and he’s not the kind of man players can take the urine out of.

Rangers Kevin Muscat
STVV’s head coach Kevin Muscat and Eupen’s Flavio Chiampichetti a soccer match between KAS Eupen and Sint-Truidense VV, Saturday 29 August 2020 in Eupen, on day 4 of the ‘Jupiler Pro League’ first division of the Belgian championship. BELGA PHOTO BRUNO FAHY (Photo by BRUNO FAHY/BELGA MAG/AFP via Getty Images)

We’ve seen it mentioned that Rangers have been appointing softly-softly managers for too long, with the only tougher personality being Steven Gerrard, pretty much since Walter himself. That is true, we’ve basically made a bunch of wet appointments for years, with very few of them having strong charisma and being managers the players utterly respected. Muscat does seem to have that aura about him.

As for the football side, he is similar to Angie’s style, having inherited two teams from his fellow countryman, and he’s won similar to the ex-Celtic manager as well. He’s not a clone though, we’ve heard that said, and while he plays a similar type of system, who actually doesn’t, these days? If it works, it works. Or is using the same formation as your successful predecessor copying him now?

But crucially, Gamba Osaka boss-turned-pundit Tomohiro Katanosaka says:

“Kevin Muscat has continued that high-intensity football with a fluid attacking system and a solid and tough defensive unit.”

That sounds exactly what Rangers need. He has also, obviously, won more than one title in more than one country, just like his predecessor. He is an absolute winner, not just with titles but trophies in general.

So Muscat is clearly a success and countryman Craig Moore adds this:

“They’ve got the ninth biggest budget in the J League – it’s a midtable budget. He won the league and the equivalent of the charity shield. They lost to Vissel Kobe last weekend so they’re sitting second in the table. He lost six or seven players over the summer that had to be replaced from within. So he’s punching massively. His teams play entertaining football, score goals and they create. He’s a great option for Rangers as far as I’m concerned.”

So, clearly, Muscat is no failure.

We now turn to Philippe Clement, with the Belgian manager said to have been torn between this job and a Saudi gig, having already turned down the latter earlier this summer.

The former Genk and Brugge manager is much less of a hard man than Muscat, and much more of a pure tactician, man-manager and nurturer. He is much more quietly-spoken, and like Muscat, he’s won things, but in his favour he’s won them in Europe, and not the ‘lesser’ Oceania of Australia and Japan. Indeed, he’s won a tonne in Belgium, and did very well in Monaco in a very underrated spell in France.

We’ve covered Clement many times, and the one thing we might have against him is a few of the things Muscat has in his favour:

Clement is torn between this and another job, apparently, meaning he’s not 100% decided on Rangers, not 100% committed. Muscat, from what we understand, absolutely is, but even then, he still committed to Marinos till December himself, so that one is actually a bit muddy.

Clement is also clueless on Rangers – he’s a champion, but not one who knows Rangers at all – some accuse him of being another PLG or Pedro, and there’s an argument for that, but winning the Belgian league three times in a row with two different clubs is a big achievement which probably overrules the need to ‘know Rangers or Scotland’. He’s a winner, like Muscat.

In terms of style, more adaptable than Muscat – he plays a similar(ish) system to the Australian but is much stronger for adapting to competitions, players, and game styles; he’s not as hard-wired into any one particular system, favouring strong defence and attack and a good linking and understanding between them.

So… with that all said, do we have a favourite?

Marginally. We’ve favoured Clement from the start, and we think his all-round class, CV and style would be more effective, but equally, Muscat’s winning mentality and stronger psychology might aid him even better.

If you threw these two men into a random midtable Dutch club, Clement would succeed better we believe. Ditto France.

He is probably the better football manager overall who just knows the game more intimately. But Muscat is the stronger guy, who can make his players run through walls for him and knows Rangers and the SPL a lot better than the Belgian.

Clement is the better manager but Muscat might be the better choice for our club.

But really, Rangers can’t lose with either of them overall.

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