Philippe Clement and Rangers must take this one on the chin

Philippe Clement and Rangers must take this one on the chin
GLASGOW, SCOTLAND - APRIL 07: Philippe Clement, Manager of Rangers, celebrates after the draw during the Cinch Scottish Premiership match between Rangers FC and Celtic FC at Ibrox Stadium on April 07, 2024 in Glasgow, Scotland. (Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images)

There is no doubt Philippe Clement, again, got his lineup in an Old Firm wrong, and while his subs, mostly, helped things back to a level of parity, that the Belgian essentially gave the visitors a 47-minute head start in the first half at Ibrox shows that he has surprisingly learned absolutely nothing from the failed trip to Parkhead.

Make no mistake, this was a damaging result for Clement – while we suggested repeatedly that it probably didn’t make a big difference regarding the title’s destination, the manager has demonstrated that, for now, he is a LONG way off the likes of Walter Smith who lamped Celtic one and then twice for good measure.

Rangers managers are judged on how they perform against the old rival, and with that ridiculous starting lineup, Clement showed he didn’t pick up a single thing from the loss at Parkhead.

He insisted on Wright, he put Sterling at LB (claimed Barisic was ill but still had him on the bench), he offered weak Diomande in the middle, and had Lawrence in the 10.

And none of this worked. None of it was likely to, and for things to improve he had to make changes.

We make no bones about it – Clement majorly f*cked it.

While he didn’t make Tav screw up the first 20 seconds or Goldson handle the ball, he picked them – despite their repeated defensive indiscretions he chose these players. And backs them up too.

And they let him down yet again.

But it was the presence of the likes of Wright that absolutely exasperated Rangers fans. Aside a few ‘in the manager we trust’-type comments, 99% of Rangers fans did not support Wright in the lineup, and just crossed their fingers Phil knew what he was doing.

Simply put he didn’t.

He’s had four major domestic tests as Rangers manager, and he’s only passed a single one – the League Cup win at Hampden. Aberdeen away, Celtic away, Celtic home were all fails, and we’re getting to the point where he had two of his own signings in that XI and the system is moulded to his vision.

So it’s significantly on him now, not Beale.

Now, as we stress, it is still likely, data-based, that we will win the league – his overall performance has been good, borderline great. This appalling afternoon doesn’t change that.

But the lack of comprehension of this match and how to manage it shows Clement, if we take away that trophy (which didn’t see us face Celtic) isn’t actually grasping the big moments and isn’t really any better, at this point, than the initial impact of Beale and Gio.

His record is great, and we top the table, but he’s up against a Celtic who are very inconsistent under this manager and who have dropped more points than the marauding Angie regime, who both Beale and Gio were against.

For Clement to prove he’s the real deal, properly, he needs to win the league. Simple as.

It’s all very well beating Ross County and Dundee, but he’s falling short in a lot of the big matches which count – and they will be the majority in the final 8 matches this season as the split kicks in. We have two wins in the last 7 matches…

Dundee is a big deal – we have to go to a mudbath and win. Simple as. We will get a 2 point lead with that win.

Clement apaprently loves pressure, loves a challenge.

Well, he’s given himself both now.

Do we still support the man?

Yes of course, he’s a great manager. But even the best screw it up. And he did so at Ibrox on Sunday. We’ll not flog him publicly for that.

But it’s up to Clement to regain our trust and win the league now.

Anything less and he’s just another ‘saviour’ who flattered to deceive.

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