Pundits deliver unanimous Rangers verdict on defiant Philippe Clement deflection tactics after Dundee draw

The Ibrox boss suggested Dundee were fortunate to secure a point against his title-chasing hopefuls at Dens Park.
Rangers Connor Goldson and John Souttar look frustrated during the 0-0 draw with Dundee. (Photo by Ross MacDonald / SNS Group)Rangers Connor Goldson and John Souttar look frustrated during the 0-0 draw with Dundee. (Photo by Ross MacDonald / SNS Group)
Rangers Connor Goldson and John Souttar look frustrated during the 0-0 draw with Dundee. (Photo by Ross MacDonald / SNS Group)

Rangers manager Philippe Clement has been accused of using deflection tactics to protect his squad of players after claiming Dundee were “lucky” to have secured a point last night.

A goalless draw at Dens Park has left the Ibrox side sitting three points behind arch rivals Celtic in the Scottish Premiership title race, with many downbeat supporters feeling a victory in the final Old Firm derby of the season at Parkhead next month is now essential in order to give their fast-fading trophy hopes a much-needed boost.

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And Belgian boss Clement raised plenty of eyebrows during his post-match debrief by suggesting he was pleased by the reaction of his under-performing side following last weekend’s damaging 3-2 defeat to Ross County in Dingwall.


Sky Sports pundits Kris Boyd, James McFadden and Chris Sutton all unanimously agreed his remarks don’t sit well after refusing to believe Brendan Rodgers’ Hoops have been handed the initiative in the title race with five post-split fixtures remaining. Asked by host Eilidh Barbour if he agreed with Clement's thoughts shortly after the full-time whistle, Boyd responded: "No I don't think in the terms of the chances created. I didn't really see any clear-cut. Rangers got into plenty of good positions in the pitch. Fabio Silva I touched on in the first-half, there was one in the second as well and he was sleeping. When you get into those positions as a forward player you've got to get on the move and make up the mind up of your winger.

"I said it at the weekend, Rangers can't depend on one player coming back and making a difference. It has to be better. You can't go to Ross County and get beat. You can't come here tonight and draw when you are in a title race. Listen, full credit to Ross County and Dundee but Rangers have got to be a lot better than they are.

"You are talking about big players stepping up. Cantwell, what has he done again? Lawrence? You are looking for more. I think Sima - yes he is coming back from injury - but you are looking for more. Kemar Roofe, again, he's not played football in a long time but Rangers never really created anything for him. He's a penalty box striker, if you get the ball in there he has shown he will score goals. Desseres came on and it didn't really work. From a forward point of view the substitutions were poor. Rangers have got problems at this moment in time."

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Celtic icon Sutton voiced a similar opinion of Clement's assessment, stating: "I've been really impressed with Philippe Clement.. up until tonight. I don't know what game he was watching. To call Dundee lucky... they weren't lucky. He did say that Rangers lacked a spark. He said people shouldn't jump to conclusions... the conclusion is, in the huge couple of games, they haven't stepped up when they needed to.

"It's come to the business end of the season and they needed to build momentum and they are losing momentum at this moment in time and that is not a good look. Unfortunately for him, people look at the whole season and if they finish second, we know second is last in Glasgow. We saw the reaction from the Rangers fans at the end, they aren't happy. He's got this Rangers team back into a title race and then all of a sudden they are crumbling."

McFadden claimed Clement was attempting to protect his players from the inevitable backlash that has followed. He added: "The more he spoke, the more I'm thinking that he's trying to protect his players. If he comes out now and says, 'Not good enough, didn't create enough, not enough tempo, we looked tired, we don't have enough energy...'

"You don't have the time to go and try to pick your players back up if you come out publicly and slate them and say it's not good enough and we're too far off in terms of the title. So straight away he goes on the defensive. You see him at the end deep in a conversation with his assistant manager.

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"If he felt what he said in the press conference, 'That was unlucky, we created chances.' That was calculated from him to look after his players because if he goes for them now, they've got absolutely no chance of staying in the title. I don't know if it will work because it looks like a group of players who need to be told it's not good enough."

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