We can already see the fear in some Rangers fans’ eyes – ‘it was only one match’ and ‘don’t count your chickens’.
There is a real anxiety that Rangers’ win over Hibernian was ‘false’ and that Philippe Clement isn’t the answer – some supporters, understandably, are urging massive, massive caution due to 11 years of false dawns.
They won’t let themselves believe that this is any different to Beale, to Gerrard, even Gio – they refuse to countenance the notion that Clement is the real deal, with ‘come back at Christmas before we judge’-type comments.
And we absolutely do not blame them for being so stressed, at refusing to believe, for now, that Clement is the answer and that Rangers’ season is anything but a dud.
They liked the performance but the old ‘one swallow doesn’t make a summer’ is ringing loudly for some supporters.
And they’re absolutely right – we have all endured 11 years of subpar Rangers, that it’s all we’re used to – we’re used to having our Bluenose hearts broken, being offered snake oil by losers who pulled the wool over our eyes.
And so when a real manager actually does show up, it’s the boy crying wolf for many.
So many fakes, that when the real thing appears, it’s greeted with the same cynicism the others were, no matter what his debut delivered.
However, there has to be a but – a rationale. A line must be drawn.
Philippe Clement’s CV is simply on a different planet to every other manager, including Giovanni’s, that we have had since Walter on his return. No other manager has even had a 10th of the quality on their CV that Clement has, apart from Gio, and the Dutchman’s troubles with Rangers’ board of the time are well-documented.
But Clement is an absolute winner – doing so in Belgium, three seasons in a row with two different clubs:
He took over 10th place Genk in Belgium in December 2017 and took them to 5th – he got them into the Split. Following season? He slapped Brugge around to take an 8-point lead into the split, then finished top of Brugges after said split, winning the title.
Following season? Brugge nicked him, and they absolutely destroyed Gent under his coaching, by 15 points, with his old side Genk back to being midtable without him there. No split that season due to Covid.
Next season? Brugge had a 16-point lead over Antwerp going into the split and Brugge won the title in there.
In short? This guy is a top, top manager, and his influence at Genk then Brugge is impossible to ignore.
And the influence was there to see at Ibrox v Hibs with only two days’ coaching.
This manager is the real deal, and Rangers supporters should let themselves believe, because this time isn’t a rookie or a League One idiot in charge.
This is a proper football manager.
Are we making false promises? It’s hard to ignore the best new manager debut since Walter’s return in 2007, with nothing but rubbish since then.
So we don’t know what we’re ‘making’. All we know is the hard facts – Clement is a top manager, and the conditions are right to see real progress at this club now.