Philippe Clement meets old friend as Rangers overcome Sparta

Philippe Clement meets old friend as Rangers overcome Sparta
Sparta Prague's Danish head coach Brian Priske follows the action from the sidelines during the UEFA Champions League, first-leg, third round qualifing foorball match FC Copenhagen v Sparta Prague in Copenhagen on August 8, 2023. (Photo by Mads Claus Rasmussen / Ritzau Scanpix / AFP) / Denmark OUT (Photo by MADS CLAUS RASMUSSEN/Ritzau Scanpix/AFP via Getty Images)

A very unnoticed and subtle subplot of the last two European matches for Rangers was the relationship between Philippe Clement and Sparta Prague’s Danish boss Brian Priske.

These two have crossed paths many times in their careers, notably playing against each other initially for Genk and Brugge many times in 2003-2005 before getting together at Brugge for two seasons back in 2006-2008, when Priske joined them from Portsmouth, Clement already having been in Brugge of course for years.

Then as managers, while not regulars, they faced each other in the Jupiler for Brugge and Antwerp in an honours-even encounter in 2021, before the recent double header between both men’s new clubs in of course Rangers and Prague. Clement can probably claim bragging rights overall here.

GLASGOW, SCOTLAND – NOVEMBER 09: Philippe Clement, Manager of Rangers interacts with Brian Priske, Head Coach of Sparta Prague, prior to the UEFA Europa League 2023/24 match between Rangers FC and AC Sparta Praha at Ibrox Stadium on November 09, 2023 in Glasgow, Scotland. (Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)

We did note an especially warm embrace between them prior to kick off, and the snap of said encounter above rather shows that this is a good respect these two have for each other and they go back years.

Not besties, by any manner of means, but two respected football rivals, then ex-teammates and now with a little experience against each other as manager as well.

Clement has a wide network in football – he is extremely well-respected and many have noted his no-nonsense demeanour, helped by a huge frame and stern expression!

But he’s got that aura about him, a little fleck of ‘Walter’ in him we think that the late great man would have been proud of, and Priske is obviously one of the many in football Clement’s network goes back years with.

Never know, it might work in the club’s favour in unexpected ways.

It is a new world with Clement and a pretty good one at that.

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