SPL

Philippe Clement wants a reaction from Rangers after Ross County ‘off-day’

By Sports Desk April 16, 2024

Philippe Clement has put Rangers’ historic defeat to Ross County down to an “off-day” that even the best teams in the world experience as he looks for a reaction against Dundee on Wednesday night.

County’s 3-2 cinch Premiership victory on Sunday was the Dingwall club’s first win over Rangers in 25 attempts and dented the Light Blues’ title hopes.

Rangers are four points behind Celtic, with their game in hand against Dundee at Dens Park getting the green light to go ahead after two previous postponements due to an unplayable pitch.

Clement’s side have won just two in seven and taken four points from their last 12 but the Belgian was keen to isolate the County display as the first of its kind with deficiencies in structure, organisation and basics since he took over in October and insists such days happen at every club, including all-conquering Manchester City.

“They were very disappointed in themselves and that is a positive thing,” said Clement, who revealed left-back Ridvan Yilmaz remains out along with midfielder Mohamed Diomande, while defender Leon Balogun is a doubt with illness.

“I had some clear words after the game and then we had a good debriefing on what went wrong – individually and collectively – and how we can make it better.

“It was an off-day.

“It is the first time in six months that I have seen my team like that and I was disappointed. But I think every manager has moments like that, even with teams that win amazing things.

“I have been watching the series of Man City’s treble last year and I saw quite a few of those moments.

“It doesn’t mean that I want to see it back on Wednesday of course, but it is part of the game.

“It’s not something that you want, not the players or manager, fans.

“But the most important thing is how you react and I have a good feeling about that, that I will see the real face of my team tomorrow.

“Motherwell (lost 2-1) was a freak accident, we could have won 6-1, we had a lot of chances but it wasn’t our lucky day.

“The Celtic game (3-3) was a big game, we didn’t start well but we had a great reaction and we played a really good second half and I think it was a deserved draw.

“But this one on Sunday was a bad one, that is true, so we have to react tomorrow.

“Sometimes you need a knock on your head to remind you what you need to do to be strong.”

Clement was pleased to see that the match between Dundee and Rangers is set to go ahead at the third time of asking after a pitch inspection at Dens Park.

Rangers have already made the trip to the Scot Foam Stadium twice – on March 17 and April 10 – only for the pitch to be deemed unplayable, and contingency plans had been drawn up for the game to be moved to St Johnstone’s McDiarmid Park if the pitch failed its latest inspection.

He said: “People who decided to play at Dens Park are sure that there will be a game tomorrow and that is a very positive thing.

“They know the weather forecast probably and they are certain that the pitch will cope with that.

“So it’s good for us to know where we will play and people from Dundee and Rangers are happy that we can finally play the game.”

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