Philippe Clement has yet to concede in his two Rangers games which is just what they needed.
Rangers legend Barry Ferguson is under no illusions that Philippe Clement is the right man for the job after a solid start to his Ibrox tenure.
Winning 4-0 in his first game against Hibs last weekend, the Belgian got his side firing when they had looked shaky in Govan for the past couple of weeks after squeezing past Motherwell in a 1-0 win before losing 3-1 at home to Aberdeen. A European test came next with a tough away tie at Sparta Prague, but Clement’s side stood strong and looked favourites to win against the Czech side.
A point is considered a good point in Ferguson’s eyes, especially with two home ties coming in the Europa League over the next two game weeks. And Ferguson has lauded the backbone shown by the Rangers boss as the going gets tough.
Ferguson told the Daily Record : “Philippe Clement is just days in the door at Ibrox but I’m convinced he’s the straight man Rangers have been crying out for.
“He’s brought a bit of gravitas and class to the job and to use an old expression – I like the cut of his jib. Rewind to last weekend when he was asked if he was impressed with the performance against Hibs and the reporter claimed it could have been the best of the season so far. His reply was very straight, he said ‘impressed’ was a big word and would prefer to use the word, ‘happy”.
“It was great to hear a sober response from him. He knows the size of the task he has taken on and is well aware of what needs to be done both domestically and in Europe in the months ahead. Two games down and two decent performances but he’s playing it all low key. There’s no danger of him getting carried away. A draw in the Europa League against Sparta Prague was a positive for me, it was far from brilliant but if it’s progress from what’s gone before, there’s plenty to feel good about.”
Rangers’ Scottish Premiership title charge might not be going as planned this season but the Light Blues are well and truly in the Europa League group with four points from three games. And with two home games up next, Ferguson believes they will need to take at least five points from the final three games, with Real Betis away on the final game week providing a real test.
Ferguson continued: “The early signs are good and there are reasons to feel encouraged about Europe. Four points have been put on the board and with two games at home coming up against Sparta next and then Aris Limassol, there’s a path being plotted to get through this group.
“Nine points should be the target as that’s the number which I believe gets you through into the knock-out stage. Rangers need to be looking at both Sparta and Aris at Ibrox and there’s no reason why they shouldn’t do that.
“That would be six points and you would then be looking at European football beyond Christmas and that’s what Rangers should always be achieving and it would give everyone at the club a huge boost. It was a bit patchy in Prague but it was much more like it from the team in the closing period and I was inside the Epet Arena and in the second half it felt like there was only going to be one winner and it wasn’t the home side.
“The one criticism is that the goal threat needs to be greater, there needs to be a more ruthless approach to finishing off opportunities and that more than anything is why there weren’t three points to show for what was a real team effort. Sparta also had their chances, there’s no doubt about how inventive they were in the final third but Clement will also be happy with the opportunities his team had but it’s an area he knows needs to be worked on.
“Part of management is working to build confidence within players who are struggling to perform to the levels they can. I would hope Clement is going about his work quietly and building that confidence within the group and I have a good feeling about him.
“There is a clean slate with a new man in charge, the squad have now until January to try and ensure they are part of his plans beyond that and that always stimulates players to perform.”