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Philippe Clement says Rangers will ‘go hard’ at Hibs despite European exploits

SoccerNews in General Soccer News 8 Mar 2024

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Philippe Clement insists Rangers will park encouraging European ambitions to concentrate on the Scottish Gas Scottish Cup tie against Hibernian on Sunday.

There is little respite for the Light Blues, who drew 2-2 with Benfica in the first leg of their Europa League last-16 tie in Lisbon on Thursday night, with the return game at Ibrox next week.

The cinch Premiership leaders are now preparing for the last-eight clash with the Hibees at Easter Road, where Clement believes their focus will be “200 per cent. No doubt about that”.

The Belgian boss, whose side beat Hibernian 4-0 at Ibrox in his first game in charge of the Govan club last October and 3-0 in Leith in January, said: “My team have been working hard all season in that way and never stopped.

“Good proof is after the Real Betis game (in December), a few days later they had the Viaplay Cup final and they were there (won 1-0).

“My team is hungry to win more trophies and we know we need to play well against Hibs because they are really hungry to beat us, apparently.

“We are going to see how people recover for the next two days and we are going to go hard to get into the semi-final because it is important.

“I have read that they (Hibs) were really unlucky in their last two games against us. So they have a lot of belief, clearly.

“So it is about us getting a good result there and qualifying.”

Clement was proud of all of his players’ efforts in Lisbon but had special praise for Portuguese attacker Fabio Silva, on loan from Wolves, who returned to a club where he spent two years in the youth system and turned in a fine performance on the left-hand side.

He said: “Fabio is growing. He is still a young player at 21. We had a lot of talks before he came to Rangers about his role and the roles he could play.

“We talked about him as a striker and also playing on the left side, or even around the striker. He can do all these roles and he showed his quality in this game.

“You see he has integrated really quickly into the squad and feels really good within the club. He plays with a smile and gives a lot of energy to the team.

“He has his qualities and is taking more and more control of his emotions. We talked a lot about that, that it’s the next step for him to take.

“I am really happy about how he handled the game in Lisbon because it was a hostile situation with a lot of attention towards him. But he played for the team, to show everybody he’s a good player.

“He played to be good player for Rangers and that’s important to me.”

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