Thursday, May 23, 2024

I still believe – Philippe Clement not losing hope despite title setback

SoccerNews in Scottish Premier League 17 Apr 2024

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Defiant Philippe Clement still believes Rangers can win the cinch Premiership title despite another set-back with a goalless draw at Dundee.

The Ibrox side lost for the first time ever against Ross County on Sunday in the poorest performance since the Belgian replaced Michael Beale last October and he was looking for a response against the Dark Blues, who had clinched a top-six place at the weekend.

However, in a game played at the third time of asking after the Dens Park pitch was twice ruled unplayable, the visitors could not get the breakthrough and were booed off the park by angry supporters.

The Ibrox side were eight points behind league leaders Celtic at one point and with five post-split matches remaining including a trip to Parkhead, they are three points behind but asked if they could still win it, Clement said: “I still believe that.

“I was maybe the only one in Glasgow who believed that in October, probably the only one of the whole town who believed that.

“We are now six months later and if we win all our games then there is a really big possibility for that.

“I think that is already a big step forward and I believe in this group, because I have seen what they have done this season already. They can do it again.

“Of course it is frustrating because you want to win, of course. You see the team gives everything for that. There was only one team who deserved to win this evening if you see the possession and the chances. It is frustrating if you have those things and don’t have the points.

“It would be concerning if it was the same performance as Sunday. That was not the case.

“So, there were a lot of things much better, it was also needed because Sunday was our worst performance in the six months that we’ve been together.

“Then it’s a pity that they show better things but don’t get the result behind you. But, it’s about standing up and being ready for Sunday again, to take the result.

“If they keep on pushing what they did today then results come also because that’s not big difference from how they played a few weeks ago or a few months ago.”

Ahead of the Scottish Gas Scottish Cup semi-final against Hearts at Hampden Park on Sunday, Clement asked for the backing of the Gers fans who were left so frustrated.

He said: “They need to stick with the team. That is super important. It is winning together and losing points together.

“I know as a fan you have the emotions and for sure after the game. But they have been great the last couple of months and pushing the team over difficult moments. That is what I expect also in this situation.

“They expect that the team gives everything to win games. Maybe in the next weeks they can push the team a few times over the line, or the ball over the line.”

Tony Docherty strongly disagreed with Clement’s assertion that only one team deserved to win the game.

“I thought it was, again, a really fantastic performance by the team,” said the Dundee boss, who revealed skipper Joe Shaughnessy will have a scan on a knee injury which saw him limp off early in the first half.

“I thought we went toe to toe with a really good Rangers team which has a huge motivation in the title race.

“But who had the more motivation in that game there?

“I thought my players served up a fantastic performance out of possession and in possession.

“I couldn’t be more pleased with them because I thought their focus going into the last two games was outstanding.

“And I thought we got our rewards tonight.”

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