With Rangers’ next match being Sparta on Thursday, Philippe Clement’s attention now turns to the Czechia giants who currently sit top of the Czech First League above Praha and will be absolutely no mugs whatsoever.
Rangers’ last four encounters with this city’s sides were all toxic, both Sparta and Slavia with their racist antics – Slavia with the Kudela nonsense, Sparta with their support FOR Slavia regarding the former and then filling their stadium up with kids who booed all Rangers’ black players.
So it’s a feisty one with a lot of history, and of course even further irony of Abdallah Sima now plying his trade for Rangers having previously done it for Slavia – he knows Rangers’ opponents this week well and was there that night when Glen Kamara was infamously abused.
But that’s all ancient history – that was Steven Gerrard’s Rangers, then Giovanni’s, before Michael Beale’s shambles took over.
And now Philippe Clement goes in with a clean slate as we say, and a big match on his plate.
Now, he is clearly a top manager, and managed to get more than a song out of this Rangers squad v Hibs, but a side this good on their own patch might be a tough one even for this manager.
Clement is a masterful tactician, but there are limits – when he takes his men to Czechia, it will still barely have been a week since he took over, and how much can he do?
It is also worth bearing in mind he won’t have Ridvan and possibly Borna at his disposal for this one, so Clement has really been dealt a rough hand.
His own record in this competition is decent. 21 matches, just 7 losses. 7 draws and 7 wins. Very competent for sure but he does have his work cut out with this Rangers squad to make them sing at such a tough venue.
We’ll have a more in-depth analysis from Derek later in the week, but at baseline, we’re tempering our expectations here.
Sparta are quite the upgrade from Hibs.