It’s very, very early days, but there is no question Philippe Clement is both a top-quality manager, and someone who has his work cut out at Rangers.
The new Ibrox boss has inherited an absolute mess of a squad, which not only suffered a horrendous summer window, but is dealing with a massive injury blight as well.
And with that utter shambles, Clement took his patched-up side to a hostile Prague and earned a fantastic point against the best side in Czechia, his own men having to adapt last-minute to a completely alien formation forced upon PC by way of injury and selection issues.
While the quality of fare, particularly in the first half, was a long way below what the manager or we fans would hope for, that Jack Butland kept Prague at bay for most of the first 45 with some help from the defence before the side grew much more into the match by the second half showed just how good a boss this guy actually is.
His half time tweaks and team talk were that of a real pro, a guy who properly knows the game.
Heck, going into this one fans were actually optimistic for the win, including Ibrox Noise’s Derek who predicted 2-0. That’s the kind of belief a good manager instils in fans, when we know we can trust him inside one match.
But that said, his hands are deeply tied. He’s inherited a horrible squad, a truly atrociously-assembled nightmare which is threadbare on defenders and top-heavy on poor-quality forwards.
It is weak throughout the whole group, imbalanced, and generally far off the level we need Rangers to be, and yet this guy has managed to cobble together a couple of performances and good result from the rubbish he has.
He’s produced some wheat from all that chafe.
Unfortunately he can only do so much.
The old saying goes, a bad workman blames his tools, a good workman never does, a great workman builds better tools and the best workman lets his tools do the job for him.
Clement is absolutely the best workman, but right now his tools are rusty and his skill is wasted on the majority of them – he will hope to build some better tools in January and have them do that job for him but for now he’s the best workman who isn’t blaming his substandard hammer.
End result? He’s not Harry Potter. He can’t magic a great team from this horrible squad. Not overnight.
But he can improve them, and there’s definitely signs in the past two matches of a superior level of football understanding in there from both the management and the players.
We just have to hope that what we have can see us out till January.
Because surgery is desperately needed.