Philippe Clement is taking a huge Rangers gamble

Philippe Clement is taking a huge Rangers gamble
GLASGOW, SCOTLAND - DECEMBER 17: Philippe Clement, Manager of Rangers, celebrates victory at full-time following the Viaplay Cup Final match between Rangers and Aberdeen at Hampden Park on December 17, 2023 in Glasgow, Scotland. (Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)

Sunday evening’s cup clash with Hibs was nothing if not eventful for Rangers, and while passage to the semi-final was secured, it has come at a gargantuan cost, and we have to regrettably lay a lot of that cost at the feet of Philippe Clement, who has, for the third time in a month now, been reckless with our players, his players, and we cannot yet know the implications down the line.

When Dujon Sterling left the field early having done his hamstring well and truly, there was a plethora of comments pointing out he shouldn’t have started. No, he shouldn’t.

When sub Ross McCausland ironically left the field early, as a sub for Sterling, the same comments began about him too.

And we cannot shake that feeling that Clement’s decision on Oscar Cortes, fielding him at Killie, was incredibly tone deaf given he SPECIFICALLY kept Kemar Roofe away from the 3G pitch and cited the surface as the reason.

Clement is NOT a stupid man, he is a smart man, but if there’s one thing his success at Rangers is showing us, he is prepared to take risks with key players, and he will accept the consequences.

Sterling is out now for who knows how long, McCausland the same, and we know we’ve lost Cortes for the season.

The small mercy appears to be that Rabbi Matondo is now fit again, and he will retake his position on the flank as our only fit winger, presumably complimenting the improving Fabio Silva on the other side.

Clement is ballsy – he is willing to take these risks, and a League Cup trophy, last 16 in the UEL with a chance of quarters while top of the league vindicates his choices.

On one hand we can criticise some of these decisions, because it’s just recklessly added to our growing injury list, but on the other it’s hard to argue with a semi-final, and all the above gongs in the previous sentence.

Clement is showing a staggering ability to get the most out of what he has left. While the football at Easter Road was a long way from pretty, Butland was a virtual spectator (aside the obligatory Goldson balls up shambles) and Hibs had next to no purchase at all.

Rangers, despite the ‘storm’ of Easter Road, were actually quite comfortable and deserved the win.

And Clement got that out of a side decimated by injury.

There may come a point where even this magician isn’t able to get yet more out of what few players he has left, but for now, Rangers march on, and Clement’s high-risk strategy is paying off.

Unfortunately the cost is pretty high too.

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