Clement hitting all the right notes

Behind the mic graphic

Kheredine Idessane, BBC Sport Scotland

There are few things more off-key than the sound of someone blowing their own trumpet. That said, in these very pages a few weeks ago, I suggested there was much left in the season for Rangers, as long as the club made the right appointment post-Beale.

The signs, so far, are that the decision to overlook advisor Graeme Souness’ preference for Frank Lampard and appoint proven winner Philippe Clement was an astute one.

I’ve interviewed him for BBC Scotland several times now. If he’s as sharp with his players in training as he is in fielding questions from yours truly, the Ibrox squad is indeed in good hands.

With an admirable command of English, perhaps a legacy of the year he spent in Coventry between 1998 and 1999, he adroitly steers you down the path he’d prefer to tread while giving away only the information that suits him.

He’s not afraid of a “no comment” either. When asked at a recent media conference whether he was surprised at the physical condition of some of the squad he inherited, his reply was a polite but firm “next question”.

Which hints at the one irritation he may have just now while virtually everything else on his to-do list is seen to with minimal fuss.

Get the team within touching distance of a trophy? Done. 100% domestic record since taking charge? Tick.

As good a start as he could possibly have wished for, especially if qualification from their Europa League group is secured over the next few weeks.

The one and only thing he hasn’t been able to sort since his arrival? The queue for the Ibrox treatment table. In fact he’s called it the biggest puzzle in his career so far. The canny Clement has revealed he knows how to fix it but would rather keep that information “in-house”. As I said before, he’s really not one for giving too much away.

If he does revolutionise the physical conditioning of the Rangers players – and does it as speedily as he’s turned around the team’s on-field fortunes – the new manager honeymoon is unlikely to be a short one.

I asked him about his own personal satisfaction at the rate of progress since he took over.

“It’s not about me,” came his instant response. Music to the supporters’ ears, no doubt.

Which takes us back to that trumpet. One person who clearly won’t be blowing his is Philippe Clement, no matter how well he gets a tune out of his players.



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