SPL

Philippe Clement admits Rangers were like ‘Bambi on ice’ in win at Kilmarnock

By Sports Desk February 28, 2024

Philippe Clement claims Rangers were like “Bambi on ice” on the artificial surface at Rugby Park before they held on to top spot in the cinch Premiership with a 2-1 comeback win over Kilmarnock.

On a rain-soaked night, Killie wide-man Danny Armstrong scored from the spot in the 11th minute after a John Lundstram handball.

Gers keeper Jack Butland made a great save from Matty Kennedy early in the second half before a trademark free-kick from Gers captain James Tavernier and a Tom Lawrence strike kept the visitors two points clear of Celtic.

Clement referenced Disney’s animated feature film about Bambi the deer in his post-match analysis.

“Resilience, mentality, solidarity and the quality to adapt,” said Clement, who revealed wide-man Oscar Cortes will be assessed after going off with what looked like a hamstring injury.

“We started the game well with a good set-piece from which we could have scored – but they saved it on the line.

“Had we gone in front it’s a totally different game. But then after 10 minutes you get this penalty against you, which was a frustrating moment.

“You then have an opponent who sits back and waits for your mistakes to make counter attacks and to be dangerous.

“And our tempo was too slow in the first half. We needed some time to adapt because it was a totally different kind of football.

“At moments I felt my players were like Bambi on ice. They had to adapt to that and we spoke about it at half-time.

“After that they were great. We were massive in every sense, the resilience, the tempo, the fighting spirit. This is a major win.”

Clement also believes Rangers should have had a penalty late in the game for a Lewis Mayo hand ball.

He said: “One thing to add, we had a penalty given against us but we could have had an easier last five minutes if we’d also been given a penalty.

“I want to hear the reason why they give the first penalty and the second not. That’s really not clear for me.

“So we go back to the story about handballs. I hope you guys can explain something about that because it was a really weird situation again for me.”

Killie boss Derek McInnes believes individual moments in Rangers’ favour was the difference between the teams.

He said: “Disappointed we never took anything from it.

“But the games comes down to moments. In terms of performance there was nothing between us and Rangers tonight.

“But Jack Butland’s save at 1-0 just confirms how good he is. That’s why he is probably going to the Euros. That was a huge moment for Rangers in the context of the game.

“Tavernier’s free kick at first I thought had gone around the wall and was blaming my goalie and shouting at my goalie coach but the height he got to get it up and over the wall was top class.

“He does that time and time again for Rangers. And for their second goal the ball breaks to Tom Lawrence and it was an unbelievable strike.”

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