SPL

Todd Cantwell relishing wave of positivity at Rangers under Philippe Clement

By Sports Desk December 18, 2023

Todd Cantwell has welcomed the dramatic change of fortunes in recent months that has left resurgent Rangers riding a wave of positivity under Philippe Clement.

The Gers landed the first piece of silverware on Sunday by defeating Aberdeen 1-0 in the Viaplay Cup final, while their cinch Premiership hopes also received a major boost at the weekend as title rivals Celtic suffered a second league defeat in a row at home to Hearts.

The turnaround has coincided with the arrival of manager Clement two months ago following the sacking of Michael Beale in the aftermath of a 3-1 defeat at home to the Dons. The Belgian has overseen a 14-game unbeaten run, including 12 victories.

“In football things change so quickly, in a good way or a bad way,” said midfielder Cantwell. “We’re on a bit of a wave at the moment and we’re enjoying it.

“We’re unbeaten so far and you gain a real big belief from that, and winning a trophy won’t harm it.

“The manager’s building a team that wants to fight and win as many trophies as possible and it’s gone really well so far.

“I’m sure he’s aware that it could have gone the other way when he first arrived and we could have been on the end of some defeats but he’s implemented the way he wants to play and it’s working really well.”

The Viaplay Cup triumph marked Cantwell’s first trophy win since he joined Rangers from Norwich in January.

“The plan was to come here and try and get hold of some trophies so it’s a good start to the season,” he said.

“We’re not going to be remembered for our songs, we’re going to be remembered by what we’ve won by the time we left.

“That’s been here nearly a year now and we’ve got one trophy in the bank and hopefully loads more opportunities to come.”

Celtic’s defeat at home to Hearts means Rangers are now just five points behind their city rivals with two games in hand – the first of which is at home to St Johnstone on Wednesday.

With a potentially pivotal derby showdown at Celtic Park looming on 30 December, Cantwell refused to be drawn on any suggestion that the Hoops were opening the door for the Gers to overhaul them in the title race.

“I don’t really see it like that,” he said. “Every game we play is an important game.

“It sounds like a cliche but it will be the end of the season when we determine who has the most points.”

Cantwell was in the wars in a scrappy final at rain-lashed Hampden on Sunday, with Rangers fans particularly annoyed that Dons captain Graeme Shinnie avoided a caution for seemingly striking the midfielder on the back of the head in an aerial challenge.

“I’ve become accustomed to that sort of treatment so far so there’s no complaints on my side,” he said. “It was a very competitive game of football, Aberdeen made it really difficult for us.

“We had to play to the conditions, it was really boggy out there and the tempo wasn’t as quick as we’d have liked but the win is the important thing. It’s a good morale boost for us.”

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